She kept vigil for as long as the law would allow before the Sabbath began. Weeping.
Not the pretty trickling of tears caressing her cheeks.
Heaving sobs, creating puddles of mud and grief on the otherwise dry ground. Snot and tears lining her sleeves.
Pain smearing across her face, she arose, knees trembling under the weight of loss, threatening to return her into a crumpled heap.
He had rescued her from death only to be murdered himself. Humiliated before men as she once was.
Her body teetered against the slight breeze. She sought strength against a nearby tree. Struggling to keep her knees from buckling.
How am I to praise my God today? What joy is to be found this Sabbath? Even the sun has hidden itself for grief. How can I worship when all hope is lost?
Pushing off from the tree, she began her walk home. Feet dragging, leaving behind trenches in the dirt, arms desperately trying to hold her from falling apart.
The once crowded street was now empty, save for a handful of people and a few soldiers. Less than a week ago, there was no standing room left and the air was filled with joyful shouts of laughter and “Hosanna!”
Yet only hours ago, there was a different kind of laughter accompanying the crowd roaring, “Crucify! Crucify! Crucify!” Over and over until the word lost all sense of meaning…the only thing you could understand was their hatred.
Hatred for what? He had done nothing wrong!
In His wake, the Teacher left the blind with sight, the lame leaping for joy, lepers restored, thousands were fed with a few loaves of fish and a bit of bread, the sinners…sinners like her…doomed for death, given new life.
How could this have happened? He was to be the king of kings, rescuing the People from bondage. Thousands had put their hope in Him and now that hope…was dead. Snuffed out with the agonizing, cruel death by crucifixion.
The sight of her Lord hanging on that tree would forever be burned into her memory, just as the day they met would be. The day He saved her life in more ways than one…
They brought me, naked, into the square. My lover nowhere to be found. Men of God surrounding me, eager for my blood and disgrace to soak the ground.
What could I do but cower before them? Pulling at my hair, I tried unsuccessfully to cover what dignity I had left.
They wouldn’t even let me sit, the humiliation was part of my death.
He was there, sitting among a crowd, teaching. I didn’t bother trying to hear His words. What good would they do me? I would be dead by sundown…sooner if God showed me mercy.
“Teacher,” one of them called out, pompous and loud, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”
These words brought new terror into my heart. What will they do to me before I die today? What more will they take from me?
The silence that followed was indescribable. I could hear my heart pounding, the blood in my veins racing. Maybe my heart will stop before they even begin? “Please Lord,” I prayed, “have mercy and make my heart burst before…before this begins. Take my life before they do.”
The Teacher, my life in His words, started to draw in the sand. “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Mercy would not be mine today. I took my last free breath and waited…
The sound of a stone thudding the ground made me jump, involuntary sobs escaping my lips, tears bursting from my eyes. Soon, their hands were empty as they walked away, a blur through my flood of tears.
The Teacher looked up at me. I was naked, but in his eyes I was somehow clothed, my shame hidden from view. His eyes locked onto mine and though they could have wandered, His eyes never left mine.
“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
My heart rested at the unexpected gentleness in His voice. The blood in my veins slowed until the pounding in my head stopped.
“No one, sir,” was all I could whisper, barely a louder than a breath.
He took His outer cloak, offered it to me, and told me plainly, “Then neither do I condemn you…Go now and leave your life of sin.”
I should have died that day, though I suppose I had died long before they dragged me into the temple courts. He saved my life and gave me a reason to live again.
I had hope I would serve Him all the days of my life. He was my reason for living, yet now He is gone.
I know I can still serve Him, by living out the lessons He taught me.
Love others as He has loved me.
But how can I do any of this when my heart is broken? Can love be poured from a broken heart? How can I offer hope to others when all hope is dead?