No Stones (part 2)

It was hot that day.

Sweat dripped from my forehead into my eyes and stung. My feet were bare because the men who dragged me from my bed never gave me time to put on my shoes. One of those high and mighty Sanhedrin dragged me into the hot street. Another threw my robe at me but forgot my girdle and I had to wrestle with him to keep the front closed. The sand burned my feet, making me hurry along with them. Not because I was anxious to go where they were taking me, but because the soles of my feet were baking like bread in the oven. The Sanhedrin guard kept pulling and tugging at my arm seeming to delight in my embarrassment; jerking at my hand as I desparately tried to cover myself. I was deeply embarrassed and ashamed.

I thought what we were doing was in secret. He had told me he loved me and he was certainly handsome and he certainly treated me better than my own husband did. He didn’t beat me or scream harsh words at me. For so long I had longed for those tender words from my husband but they never came. Was there nothing in this world that would soothe that ache of loneliness? Was there nothing that could fill this dark void in the depths of my being? I longed for children, but God did not grant them. I longed for tender caresses but none were saved for me, only harsh words scraped my ears instead of gentle fingers touching my cheek. I longed for love and searched everywhere for it, finding only emptiness.

Then, suddenly, I found myself standing alone in front of the Man called Jesus! There was a lot of shouting but I heard none of it. All I could see was His eyes and His face had this tender, soft look. My embarrassment turned to despair and in mortification I dropped my gaze to the dirt thinking I was no better than that dirt. I could not look into His eyes any longer. I could not raise my head and tears burned my eyes taking the sting of the sweat from them. My tears soaked into the cracked earth, swallowed up into that thirsty sand which took and took and gave nothing back. What little strength I had, left my trembling legs and I dropped to the ground, cowering in dirt that was cleaner than me.

The throng around us must have been noisy... the city was always noisy. Yet, in that moment, I was deaf to the world. My shame had clothed me like my robe could not, enveloping me in a flush of guilt. Alone. Empty. Unlovely. Sick. I was so unworthy to touch His shoe or to let a tear trickle onto his toe.

Accusations hurled over my head as I felt burning sand sear my cheek. Oh, if only that sand would open up I would scuttle into the hole and hide. Hide from that tender look? Yes! For I was not worthy of it. I had sinned. The whole world was screaming my sin, exposing every detail of that sultry afternoon.

The stones would come next. I tightened my muscles and hunched my back actually hoping the stones would come soon and take my miserable life. Those stones would release me from the emptiness that filled my life. I was sure of that. Anything would be better than the milling throng that pressed in seeming to crush me deeper into the dirt. The shouting stopped and the only sound was the soft plop of my tears into the sand.

A finger made sand spurt up in the air. I couldn't see what He was writing. I held my breath and the valley between my shoulder blades deepened as I scrunched into a small target, certain the stones would peck away my life. Of course the sand rejected swallowing my body but would gulp my life's blood down its ever thirsty throat.

Then I heard a harder thud. A stone rolled close to my face, coming between me and that foot I was not worthy to touch. Then whitened knuckles loosened, and thud followed thud as stones of different colors and sizes dropped around me. Miracle of miracles no jagged-edged stone touched me or sliced my tender flesh.

Then a shoe scraped the sand, then another, then another. A few moments and it was quiet, the sun beating on my back. I felt His hand then, on my head. It was a gentle caress as His fingers slipped under my chin and He wiped the tears from my cheeks.

I dared to look up.

His eyes were tender and full of forgiveness. He spoke to me then. “Where are they? Has no one condemned you?” I saw those men who had dragged me down the street were all gone! There was no one left except this Man who looked at me with compassion and love.

I said, “No one, Lord.” Unbelievably…Astoundingly, He said, “Nor do I condemn you. You may go and sin no more.”

I owe my life to Him. That day is when my real life started. In Him, in my Lord, I have taken refuge; He shall never let me be put to shame. He heard and set me free. He is my rock and my refuge and I shall always find safety in Him. He is my Hope. (Ps 71) Therefore, I shall strive to never shame Him.

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