Prodigal: This is a perfect spot for a story.
Me: Let me share one then.
She could hardly breathe. Her heart was racing and it was as if all time stood still. She tried to think how the events unfolded into this. She remembers now. She has spent over two years with a man, and he ended up leaving instead of marrying her. She was devastated and not only that she was already older when she started to date him and now two years later she was not a like the other young women who were seeking husbands.
She quietly slipped into a depression. Her days overlapped each other like the waves on the shore, not really noticing when one began and the other started. The joy was gone. She had been one to always look at the birds and now she looked only at the ground as she moved from one place to the other. She was unsure of how to interact with others after the failure. She was unsure of how to plan, and hope for a different life after the depression engulfed her like a fog on a spring morning.
So she had tried to focus on work. Work was growing her herbs and then taken them to the market and trying to sell. Growing the herbs was not the hard part. She had a one room house with a flat roof. She would grow everything on the roof, and she lived in the room below. It was simple, but enough for her. She had a stove, one bed, and one lamp that gave her house a comfortable way for her to work. She tried to keep the floors swept, but spent most of her time was in the garden if she could. She would look at her plants everyday, and bring fresh clippings to the market. Items she did not sell she tried to use in her cooking for that night.
The market though was her struggle. She would often see women their younger than her, pregnant, and buying from her. She struggles to make small talk, and she never was as good at it as others in the market was. This caused her to make less but she did not really mind.
This had become her average day, when she met him. He approached her herbs and attempted to look over them. It was rare to see a man in market. She was wandering why he was there among the women but she still did not attempt to have a conversation with him. He had shown interest in my Hyssop that day. He tried to engage me in conversation, but I barely looked at him, and made small talk. He decided to buy some anyway and he was gone.
A week later he came back, he said that my hyssop had the most flavor of any he had tried before, and wanted to know my secret. I refused to tell my secret because I knew then I would lose an advantage at the market. He laughed at me as we bantered about the secret back and forth and was gone.
That started the friendship. How could I say no to a friendship when my heart was full of despair. How did I have the strength to stop something that become a small bit of joy in my overall despondent days. I never meant for it to be more. I really did not, but when you find some joy, you find warmth to heal the pain, it is hard to turn that down.
Over the months, I learned a lot about him. His wife had been ill after the birth of their second child and that is why he took to shopping for her. She could not leave the house. So he found time in his day to start going to the market. He was also depressed. He had married his wife three years earlier and already had two kids. He found that she was beautiful but she was lacking in inner beauty. She was passive aggressive and she was often selfish. She never really tried to engage him in communication.
That was something we did really well. We communicated and could often guess what the other person was saying. This is how the friendship continued and his wife didn’t seem to improve or get worse. Then one day when he was joking about my hyssop again, he begged to see my plant so maybe he could guess the secret. I laughed it off at first. Then he did that quick smile out of the corner of his mouth and I knew he was serious. I thought for a second, and then thought why not?
The next day he came over at dawn when their was still dusk outside and I took him to the roof and showed him my plants. He laughed and said he had no idea what my secret was. We went inside, and that is when things happened and their was no return. My hair was loose around my eyes and I was just bending over and picked up one dried herb that had fallen to the floor. As soon as I stood back up, he had stepped in closer. He swept my hair behind my cheek and his fingers gently fell over the rest of my hair. It was a very intimate gesture. It took my breath away. He saw that too, and before I knew it we had embraced and that is how the affair started.
It became a weekly event always at the same place around the same time. This went on for several months. Then one day my neighbor Martha spotted him as he was leaving. I saw her look on her face. I was frantic with worry because he still had a wife. I ran over and tried to distract her, and ask her how she was feeling. She immediately started attacking me verbally with accusations. I was overwhelmed with trying to get her to quite down so finally I told her I would tell her a secret if she promised to keep it a secret. She said she would, and almost seemed to have such joy over the idea of having a secret. I then told her about Jonathan and me. I told her she had to keep it a secret though and how it was not going to last anyway. She promised and even seemed to be nicer to me. I talked to her here and there for the next month but she seemed to be friendly, and seemed to keep the secret. It was not till later that I found out the whole truth.
She had gone to Simon, he was one of the Pharisees that was very strict. She had told the secret to gain favor with him. She betrayed me just so she could look like she was in favor with someone in position. They then went to Jonathan and accused him. He was afraid, so he quickly made a deal to turn me in so that he would not have to suffer. So they made a plan that morning that he would come to my house and would gain my affections, and then the Pharisees would have caught me with evidence.
When they caught me they dragged me through the dirty streets to the temple. There was a man there. I felt his presence before I could really see him. See this was part of them trying to trick this man.
They immediately told this man Jesus that I was taken in the very act of adultery. They reminded him that according to the Law of Moses that I should be stoned so they wanted to know what he said.
I will never forget that moment. I was a dead woman, no hope for my life. I was guilty of the worst sin, and shame of everything I had become. Why would it matter what He said?
Then he slowly stooped down and began writing. Everyone was dead quiet. He wrote guilty in the sand. They again were asking to stone me. He then said the most shocking answer. He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
Then he slowly stooped down and started writing what will your punishment be, and started writing sins down. Starting with the eldest to the last one by one they were convicted of their own conscience and they left.
It was only me, and Jesus then when Jesus finally looked up. He then looked at me and asked me where are the man who have accused me. His voice was a confident smooth voice filled with the most compassion I had every heard. When he asked me the question, I knew this man loved me. How, because he had just saved me.
I answered and said no man has accused me. He said neither do I, go and sin no more.
At that moment I left in a daze. I was not only alive, but I was loved by this man who was Son of God. How did I know? His spirit told me when he forgave me. It was a warmth that was deeper then the sun on your skin at noon. His spirit filled you with a peace and stillness that made you want to cry out in joy.
I knew I would never sin again. I knew my life was now living for Jesus. Now, I would not be in darkness anymore. I would walk in the light always knowing that everyday would be gift.
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
Jennifer Van Allen