There was a woman pulled before a crowd, caught in adultery; in order to test a certain teacher in his application of The Law, and as many know the teacher freed the woman not condemning her saying.
“Go and sin no more.”
And so, she went.
But as she walked home, she began to ache in herself. Her wrong took hold, and began to gnaw at the wicked heart, eating away at the sinful flesh from which she acted out her appalling lusts.
“Whore…rotten, disgusting, foul, putrid, sickening…”
These words, she kept repeating to herself. Vehemently piling them on word by word, every disgusting adjective and synonym for ‘cheap cheating trash’ she could think of - naming herself those things.
Problem is, she was those things - and she knew it. Not a minute went by, the sun slowly sinking into the horizon far west, without her finding yet a new way of trying to destroy her own image which had just been justified.
“Stupid teacher, what does he know?” She told herself. Angrily wishing she’d been stoned for what she knew she deserved, yet felt that justice simply hadn’t been done.
“If he isn’t going to throw the first stone, then I may as well hurl myself down into a pile of them.”
She made her way up the side stairs near a small plastered house, seeking to find a high place from which she might execute herself. Unwilling to forgive herself, feeling bitter after freedom, seeing how she did not measure up in her deeds and in her mind to the mercy of the teacher, or the piety of the Pharisees who pulled her out to die.
She walked, and walked; cursing herself. Thinking about her husband, and how little he deserved such a wretched wife…if wife she could dare call herself such. She was a fool, and she knew it. Thinking about the hypocrisy of the crowd, and how she is no better than they. Thinking about the man she slept with, and the cheap coinage he gave for her fare.
“Ridden like a cheap, speckled donkey through Samaria…” Her thoughts toward herself were nothing short of vile, and as she judged herself, she judged others likewise. The man, the crowd, the Pharisees, even the teacher himself.
“What is a bottle of Roman perfume, or Egyptian linen, or Greek olive oil worth to a donkey…you don’t primp a beast when all it is good for is to be used.”
The more she thought about why she slept with the man to begin with, the more she hated herself, and the more she hated herself the more she hated the man who simply wouldn’t let her be stoned to death in the street.
She wanted to die, at least in Hades she wouldn’t feel her shame, her regret. She could forget she ever even existed, wandering about the dark halls of the cold realms below until her soul had become as hard and unfeeling as the stone that capped her nameless grave above; and so it was that she would fall upon a stone to become as dead as a stone, and there in Hades be free of living in the sight of her hideous being cruelly freed by a witless, overly compassionate teacher.
Taking a road through a dark alley, she deftly slipped through the shadows of the sleepy path and then carefully made her way up a narrow flight of rough hewn stairs, carved out of the dusty mud brick walls of a large two story house that nuzzled the edge of a slab stone courtyard.
Night had fallen, and the stars were glittering out from the hazy wisps of cloud that shimmered in the moon light; silver light illuminating the neighborhood like a soft grey blanket. Her thoughts had become quiet now, as her intentions had settled the matter with the moon rise. If the teacher would not stone her, she’d do it herself in the stillness of this very night.
So it was, after another flight of stairs taken in her dark wandering she at last stood on the brink of a tall, pillared wall that supported the causeway over a quiet bazaar, rough cobbled stones paving the yard below where animals, beasts, and cattle were traded along side the riches of the region.
“What a befitting place to die.” She thought. “A piece of meat for coin I am, and here I’ll throw myself down where pieces of meat are sold.”
She took a deep breath, and then a step from the edge of the causeway…Her breath pained her lungs as she gasped with the sudden fright of the impending doom of falling. A sudden jerk pulled her back from behind! Shocked by the sudden motion that yanked her from her suicidal attempt, she turned around and lifted up a fist to smite the offending stranger.
But found only that her wrists were suddenly caught by a pair of gentle, firm hands. And in the moonlight her gaze was captured by the compassionate, fearsome look of two powerfully loving eyes.
“You who are sinless, cast the first stone.” The stranger said.
She tilted her head, glaring perplexed at the stranger. “Who are you?” She asked.
“Why do you ask who I am?” The stranger said, pulling her from the causeway to more stable ground.
“Why did you come here…Why did you stop me?” She said wearily, and frustratedly.
“You who are sinless, cast the first stone.” The stranger repeated.
“I know who you are, you’re that loathsome teacher who wouldn’t let me die! And now you stop me again!” She hissed, struggling to get out of his grip.
But he reached his arms around and pulled her close to embrace her.
“Little daughter, where are your accusers? Did you not listen to me before?”
She sat down, and began to sulk in his arms. Resistance was useless, she’d have to listen again.
“What was it that I said?” The teacher asked.
“You who are sinless, cast the first stone.” She replied.
“Are you sinless?” The teacher asked.
“No.” She said.
“Then put down your stone, and stop condemning yourself.” The teacher commanded.
“Do you not understand, that I am the judge? Do you not understand the ruling of Truth? Listen to me, and hear what I say. When I said ‘you who are sinless cast the first stone’, it was not just for the crowd. It was also for you.”
“What? For me?” She looked up again in question.
“Yes.” The teacher replied.
“Here you are trying to pass judgement upon yourself, ready to throw yourself down in order to stone yourself. But I tell you the truth; If you are sinless enough to cast the stone at yourself, what need do you have to cast the stone for sinning? If you are sinless, you need not cast the stone. But if you are a sinner, what right have you to cast the stone? For I have said; ‘you who are sinless…cast the first stone.’ Sinless, or sinner, put the stone down.”
“Go, and condemn yourself no more.”
And so she went…