The poem below is the story from the perspective of the adulterous woman from John 8. I wanted to point out something from the perspective of the Pharisees (the religious leaders during Bible times). They wanted to accuse the adulterous woman. But in the presence of JESUS, their accusations meant nothing. In the presence of the Holy, righteous, perfect God, our goodness means nothing. We all need God’s grace, His beautiful, matchless, grace.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ JESUS for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” Eph. 2:8-10.
~Beautiful, Matchless, Grace ~
By Sarah Anna McConnelee
Inspired by John 8:1-12
Broken, destitute, brazen, penniless
Shunned by all
No one wanted me
Because I was Battered Disgusting
The women saw me as dirty, garbage
Desperate I sold what was dearest to me
I had to provide for my son though shame marked my actions.
One night a man enticed me
One with a ring on his finger
Nausea spread like the plague; I almost refused
It became an overnight and when I woke up in his bed
I captured the scream in my throat before it tore the house to shreds
But he asked for one more time
Before the word No was off my lips
He promised me an extra-large sum of money
I thought of my darling son,
Would my son cringe if he knew what his mother was doing for a living?
Was there any hope of life being beyond survival?
Any hope of an abundant life?
So out of extreme love for my son
So out of extreme fear
I complied with the man
Hoping to get it over with
As soon as possible.
I heard a knock on the door and began to pull away
The man I was with thought I was avoiding him and pulled me closer
The law givers, wearing white, hypocrisy, fake purity, waltzed in the bedchamber
What right had they to be here?
It was if they were bored and looking
Anyone to accuse.
Quickly they yanked me away
Calling me all the blasphemous names I had heard a thousand times before
Their phylacteries righteously stood on their heads accusing me.
I cringed to think of where the law givers would take me
As they pulled my beaten, broken vessel along
I noticed they were taking me to the open square in the temple
No, not the temple,
Embarrassment overwhelmed me
I was a sunken ship
Waiting to crash upon the shore
But I knew I deserved it
The lawgivers didn’t seem to care about the man I was with, even though he was married
No, as the woman I was the one who was the criminal.
They brought me to the stone plateau outside the temple doors
I closed my eyes
Trying to block out what I knew was happening
I was going to die
To be stoned
Standing in the temple court yard was a man
He didn’t dress like the pious law givers
There was something gentle, understanding about him
I thought I had seen him around town before
He stood in such a way that held power
His posture demanded attention
The law givers pushed me into the stone court yard
I sat crumpled as a heap
As a shattered oil lamp
Broken glass, Injured, Completely vulnerable
Did the men about to stone me, personally know of heartache
Did these men know of separation?
Or were they only hiding who they really were behind their “whiteness”?
Listening I heard the lawgivers tell the man I’d saw that they had caught me in the act of adultery
I should’ve been used to being called a prostitute but crimson stained my cheeks
Scarlet flooded my heart
I hated the life I was living
I realized that the man the lawgivers were talking to was the new radical in town,
Oh no, know the law givers were discussing how I should be stoned
The man seemed to ignore the law givers ramblings
He bent over and began writing with his finger on the stone ground
I was surprised to see a man of dignity willing to humble himself and stoop so low
Something about this man was real, the humbleness of stooping down was so deep
He spoke not a word, but the law givers faces almost looked guilty
As if perhaps they too had committed something treacherous
Then the man said “he who is without sin let him throw the first stone.”
I buried my head deeper into the folds of my dress awaiting the first boulder to fall upon my chest
I preferred to die quickly.
Peeking my head up from my knees I saw the man writing with his finger on the stone again
My heart almost stopped as each law giver dropped their rock on the ground and left.
Their faces bent in
Was it shame I saw disguised in their perfect figures?
Had they too done wrong?
Did the kind man know their sins?
Then the man stood up from his writing
I marveled that someone could simply write on stone with his finger
Was he writing down the name of all my accusers or all the men had known in such false intimacy?
Perhaps it was the same finger that created the rock itself
Holding the earth in balance but the breath of His mouth.
Tears crept into my face
I knew I was finished
If anyone could accuse me, then this man could
“Where are those that were going to stone you”?
Why was the powerful man speaking to an outcast?
I barely squeaked out the necessary words
Five seconds passed
The sun swept over the man’s face
There was something in his eyes
Something all knowing
He knew all about my horrid life style
Knew about where I slept each night
Knew what I did to survive
Surely this man would stone me
It almost seemed as though it would be right if He did
“I’m not going to stone you either, go and forsake your life of sin and follow me”
That was the most anyone had spoken to me since I had become a prostitute
I couldn’t speak
Tears erupted through the dams of eyes and flowed onto my cheeks
This man knew about my past
Knew about my lifestyle
And yet he choose to set me free?
Overwhelmed by my gratitude and still in my heaped position
I leaned over and kissed his feet out of reverence
Waterfalls of thankfulness and hope continually gushed forth in endless tears
He lifted my weary arms
With the palm of his thumb he wiped away my tears
Looked me in the eye
No one ever looked a prostitute in the eye
But He looked me in the eye
I looked into His eyes and saw the universe displayed
I saw freedom
I saw a new life
I saw hope
I saw love
I saw all my past erased in the sea of His forever eyes that saw all of my heart and still loved me.
Most importantly I saw grace
Beautiful, matchless grace.