Mara trembled in Thesius’s grasp, his fingers vice gripping her upper arm as he pushed her toward the Teacher. But she didn’t shiver with fear. Perhaps she should’ve been afraid. But she wasn’t. She was furious, livid at the injustice of it all.
What of the coward who stood at the fringes of the assembling crowd, watching her anxiously, unsure what was to come of her? He said he loved her, but there he stood, sweating like an unclean swine, awkwardly hiding his embarrassment beneath his cloak’s hood and feigning indifference concerning her.
Remembering his declarations of love just hours before now turned her stomach as if she’d caught wind of fresh human feces.
Why was he not next to her, cheeks red in shame? Why was he not stripped of his hastily-donned cloak to reveal his guilty state of undress? Why was his WIFE not brought as a witness against him?
She had blown her future on this fool, and she despised herself for trusting him.
Mara’s unkempt blonde hair fell into her face, mostly covering the glare aimed at Thesius, the Pharisee who’d dragged her here. How convenient that the law always faulted the woman and mentioned no consequence whatsoever to the man.
Thesius let her go, and she locked her jaws shut to avoid spitting on him. That would’ve gotten her stoned for sure.
Mara looked up at the man called Jesus, eyes narrowing in suspicion of the calmness he exuded. Probably another self-righteous wanna-be rabbi. In one glance, she noted his somber brown eyes, worn sandles, leather belt, and clean but unembellished tunic, and, surprisingly enough, his rough workers hands. Guess he hadn’t always been a rabbi in training.
“Teacher,” Thesius gestured to Him, “this woman was caught in the VERY act of committing adultery! In our Law, Moses commanded that such a woman must be stoned to death. Now, what do you say?”
Standing before the quieted crowd, Mara was familiar enough with the petty jealousy among Pharisees to hear the skepticism and borderline mockery in his query to Jesus. What had this Jesus done to unsettle him?
Jesus knelt down in front of her and began to write in the sand with his left pointer finger.
“Well, what do you say, Jesus of Nazareth??” One of Thesius’s companions prompted again, his impatience obvious. He tossed a stone: up, down. Up, down. Back and forth between both hands. Condemnation. Judgement.
Momentarily forgetting her anger and frustration, Mara watched as Jesus spelled out a name: Tirzah. And then another. Rivkah. And another. Lydia. Mara’s eyebrows rose and her mouth gaped in astonishment. She knew each one of those women…and of their relationships with the Pharisees in this very crowd.
The men closest to her–the ones who knew the women–shifted uncomfortably and stepped backward, the sudden tension and discomfort tangible.
This Jesus KNEW. He knew their hypocrisy. He knew of their unholy behavior and knew the names of the ones with whom they’d committed it with.
Surely he was more than just a teacher. A prophet. A seer.
“Whichever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone at her,” he said, rising again, wiping his hand on his tunic as he rose to his feet. He met her incredulous gaze for a moment before lifting his eyes to the crowd expectantly.
The Pharisees, three in particular, quickly dropped their stones and disappeared into the crowd. Within a full minute, a multitude of stones were all the remained of the circle of accusers.
“Woman, does no one condemn you?”
“No, my Lord,” Mara said quietly.
“Then neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.”
I thoroughly enjoyed this well-known Bible story from the perspective of the woman. Stories like this help us remember that these were real people with real hopes, real dreams and real feelings. I loved the author’s idea of the words that Jesus wrote – very plausible! Thank you, Katie Jo Jane..