On The Ground

Ashley cried as the motel door slammed shut. She was alone again. Empty again. But how could she expect him to stick around? He was married, after all. She had learned to ignore the stabs from her conscience, but the pain of being used and unloved was too much to bear.

As she gathered her things to leave, her thoughts drifted back to a story she had heard about another woman, another time, but much like her…

~~~~~~~~~~

Without warning, the curtains were shoved aside, nearly pulled down as the angry men crowded their way into the room. A man and woman both scrambled to cover themselves, but all attention was on her. Most knew her story and, sadly, would not be surprised to find her here.

Her life was one of endless searching. Searching for a love that she never could find, in people she never could keep. Men would come and go and her heart would rise and fall, soar and sink, leap and break according to their whims. Not all of them hurt her, but every one fell short in giving her what she truly needed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ashley felt as though she understood this woman completely. She stepped out to the sidewalk, still pondering the story from her youth.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The woman trembled with fear and humiliation as the men pulled her out into the street toward the temple courts. Pushing through the crowd of gaping witnesses, they threw her down at the feet of the One teaching there. This was the Jesus everyone was talking about.

“This woman was caught in adultery. In the very act! In the Law, Moses commands her to be stoned! What do you say?”

Already clutching jagged rocks, their knuckles were white with angry anticipation. Tears streamed down her face as she waited to hear her death sentence.

None came. Only silence. And soon, a slight scratching sound was heard. She looked over to see this Teacher writing on the ground with His finger. She quickly turned away, afraid to meet His eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

A street light lit up the work of an artist’s chalk drawing on the sidewalk. As Ashley drew closer, she saw it was a cross. The words “Jesus loves you this much” were scrawled in graffiti style around it. Writing. Writing on the ground.

~~~~~~~~~

The men persisted and eventually He stood up to answer them. “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Gasps and grumbling buzzed through the crowd, but not a single stone was thrown. Jesus stooped down and continued writing on the ground. She did not know what He wrote, but His writings challenged these men in such a way that one by one, their stones hit the ground as they turned to leave.

Soon, it was only the woman and Jesus. She trembled as He addressed her directly.

“Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?”

Barely able to speak, she replied, “No one, Lord.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The artist held out a small Bible with a tract tucked in it.

“It’s true, you know. He really does love you.”

Ashley took the Bible hesitantly. Did He? Did He really love her as much as people said? Her experience with love said otherwise.

~~~~~~~~~~~

The crowd watched in stunned silence as Jesus approached her. She reeked of sin, but He drew close and gently lifted her face to meet His. With more love than she had ever known in her life, He looked into her eyes and spoke.

“Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

He brushed a stray hair from her face and wiped a tear lingering on her cheek. His touch was unlike anything she ever felt before. It was real, eternal, and all that she could ever need. His love, and His writings, had saved her.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Tears spilled down her face as Ashley looked again at the cross on the sidewalk.

The artist’s kind eyes met hers.

“Let’s talk.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two women, separated by centuries, drawn together by the love of One Man. The searching was over. True Love had found them at last.

End

This piece about faith overcoming despair is also from Lori Othouse, reproduced here with her kind permission from the site: http://infyouz.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/on-the-ground/. The two different time-lines juxtaposed makes it interesting.

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