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Updated on February 16, 2013


Some weeks ago, when the Gospel reading spoke of the woman caught in adultery, I was intrigued that the priest chose not to direct his homily to the Gospel reading, but rather to the forthcoming changes in the liturgical service. It moved me to write my own version of the Gospel story.

The older I get (I am 65), I recognize, more and more, the perils in judging anyone. And I find that those (so here goes a judgment!) who seem driven to judge are often guilty of the “crime” themselves–an interesting twist that leaves me humbly silent even at times when it seems someone deserves to be judged.

I apologize ahead of time if my version of the Gospel story offends your religious or moral sense, but at least risk letting yourself take in the spirit of this fictionalized version of the Gospel story. See if you can let it speak to you and two things: stop judging and criticizing others, and then go and sin no more!


They had been following him day and night, waiting for the perfect moment. They had argued for days which woman to choose. They chose Rebecca because she seemed naive compared to the rest. She acted as if she really loved each one of them. She did their bidding passionately seemingly with pleasure, never complaining, never screaming when in pain, never hesitating when there was two or three of them at a time, including their wives. They could not imagine her exposing their secret.

It was a hot afternoon, windy, dust devils skirting about like kids playing tag. There he was sitting in the square, answering questions. They ran to get her, not knowing she was with the chief priest himself. He was angry with their intrusion and cursed at them. He pushed her onto her hands and knees, cruelly finishing his way with her. Then, laughing, he kicked her.“Go with them, you whore.” As they left his house, he shouted after them, “Return my money after they stone her.”

They drug her by her hair. By the time they threw her before him, blood was running down her face, large abrasions covered her knees. She smelled of desert dust and sex. She wanted to cry, but was too frightened.

He stared at them as if he did not know what they were up to. It unnerved them. Finally one of them shouted, “We caught her red handed, Sir, having sex with someone other than her husband.”

He looked at the woman. He reached to wipe the blood from her face. She flinched. He continued reaching for her face and wiped the blood with the sleeve of his shirt. He then broke his silence.

“So you know the law.” He looked down at her once again. “So, get on with it, then.”

He looked around at the crowd. “But wait. We have to decide who gets to throw the first stone. Yes? So who gets to throw the first stone? How about the person here who this woman has not pleasured. Why don’t you, if you are here, throw the first stone. Maybe if her husband is here, he can throw the first stone.”

Then he stood up and approached them one by one, looking each one squarely in the eyes.
“Is it you? Are you the one man here who has not sought pleasure from this woman? Or maybe you? Or maybe you?”

He sat down again and began writing in the sand. “Perhaps you would like me to write in the sand just how many times each of you have sought her pleasure. Ah, and let me do one better. Let me write down how much each of you owe her for all the times you tricked her and refused to pay her?”

When other women came running to the square to see what was the commotion, the holy men began to disperse. They motioned to the women, some of them their wives, to also leave. Soon, besides Jesus, there was only one man remaining.

“So there is no one here to cast a stone?”

“No sir.”

“So why do you risk being stoned to death, day after day?”

“Sir, I know nothing of the laws of Moses or the laws of God except what my mother and husband have taught me. My mother told me many years ago that our family was chosen to take care of the holy men of the land. She told me this is how our family would survive through the ages.”

“And your husband? Where is your husband?”

“He is one of them, sir, one of the holy men. My husband also tells me it is my duty to take care of all the holy men in the town. This way our family will win favor with God, and my husband will remain one of the holy ones all of his life, and the temple coffers will provide us with food and shelter.”

“And your children?”

Pain ripped through her dirt-scuffed face. “I have no children, sir. My husband has taken my children away from me.”

There was silence for a long time. Only the wind talked. She continued to stare at the dirt as it twirled and danced in the warm breeze. Finally, she looked up at him. “Sir, I can tell that you are one of them, a holy man, and I want to repay you for saving my life. Let me come to your house and spend the night with you. The least I can do is grace you with pleasure for an evening. I can tell you are different from the other men. I would love to submit to your every desire.”

“I would be blessed indeed to spend the night with you, woman. However, you can repay me by never again sleeping with the likes of these vipers. Go with this man to Arimathea. He is also a holy man, and someday he will provide a place for me as well to rest my head. Go now, woman, and sin no more.”


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    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      9 years ago from Yucaipa, California


      THANKS for stopping by. I really love this story and I enjoyed "fleshing" it out a tad, excuse the pun. I have little faith or respect for ANY organization who has rules that allow for anyone to be outcast, excommunicated, etc. or as you said rules that allow the organization or individuals within the organization to hate....Ugh! Hate can be quite quite scary. That is what I really like and respect about AA. No one can be excluded.

      Have you seen the movie, "That's What I Am"? Absolutely awesome and wonderful movie about tolerance.

      I have some catching up to do on your hubs. Life is really interesting for me these days, and sometimes I get on here just enough to keep posting something new, but not enuf time to support all my friends, and I have to get caught up with that because it is so VERY important for us to support each other and not just post our own stuff. You know? And I am guilty!

      Well, thanks again, and I will be stopping by soon to comment on your latest hubs. I think I have missed two.


    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 

      9 years ago

      Hi Vern. I was thinking about judging earlier and thinking about writing a hub about judging. Not so much about judging others but about using good judgment. Then, I was wondering what Vern has been up to and if he's still around, and thought I'd check out your latest hub. Lo and behold, it's about judging.

      I really like what you did with this story. It really brought out the idea that the very thing they were stoning her for, they were also guilty of. I always had thought about in a general sense we all have sinned somehow, but you are really honing in on the idea that it is so harmful when we project onto others our own "sins" or shortcomings; how we can really hate and chastise someone for doing exactly what we do! It was really sad to think how this woman was traumatized. Your depiction was extremely empathic.

      A N Y W H O. Good night.

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      9 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Hello Chase

      Thanks for stopping by and reading and leaving a comment or a question. At least you are being honest with yourself and holding yourself accountable by asking the question. Do the two of you ever talk about this question?

      I think, from an Old Testament perspective, she might be committing adultery, but as I understand, the guys were never held culpable. That's what part of the above "story" is about. Now, hopefully maybe other readers know more about Old Testament law than I do and will add additional commentary on the topic or perhaps even some affirmation.

      I think the bottom line is you both need to talk about your relationship and decide if it fits for you morally and spiritually. Might even want to pray about it. Sometimes what God sends into our lives bring with it challenges and complexities that we were not expecting to have to deal with when we woke up that morning.

      Of course, there is always the rude awakening when you find out that perhaps you are no different from her husband, perhaps not as blatant, but still subtly the same, and so you both realize you are still both living the same disfunctional relationship. You just have a different name. It is a humbling awareness for any of us. I never wanted to be like my Dad, but I am. I never wanted to be like my ex's first husband, but in some ways, I had to acknowledge I am just like him. And of course, the whole relationship is a dance, so it's not just about what you bring to the relationship. And since we are all human beings, we are all pretty much alike!

      And if you both think the relationship has the potential for "wholeyness" then you both want to begin looking at those kinds of issues. How is our new relationship just like the old one? And when you say it isn't, challenge yourselves and find out how it is, because it is in some ways and now is the time to do something about that.

      Anywho, enough from me. Thanks again for stopping by to read and comment.


    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      9 years ago from Yucaipa, California


      Are you still hanging upside down? You folks down under are all a little Kangarooish!! However, I can't say you're ever a day late, can I?

      Anywho, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I was talking to a friend today and telling him that when Jesus said to go and sin no more, it was not about adultery, per se, but about taking the risk to self destruct and hurt oneself. We are so caught up in sins that we lose sight of how we give up living. And, as you said, criticizing and judging is the fastest way to suck life out of yourself and others. Anywho, sorry that I got preachy here.

      Thanks again. Happy Monday to you and it is probably more appropriate for me to say, I wish you a blessed and happy Tuesday!!


    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      9 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Hi A M

      I get a tad nervous when I write the above kind of fictionalized story, because I know I tread on dangerous ground! Not because of offending anyone's religious or moral sensitivities, but because I am judging again, the very thing the story invites us not to do!! And at the same time, I think we all have gifts, as you do, and maybe, maybe, the Spirit uses us to make us all stop and look and listen. Anywho, I am glad you stopped by and read this hub and left a comment. And I appreciate your own "handywork" with scripture. I think we all are called to receive inspiration and maybe owe the universe to respond to the call! When I see you in hell, I will know we were both dead wrong!! But I am not worried!!


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very nice people!!! I have a ? for all to answer for me please.... I have been in a relationship with a married but seperated woman, She is getting a devorice from the husband who treated her with ever so much disloyalty,disrespect,and dishonesty. I can not help but feel as if I'm committing adultry. I cud use your opinion...

    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 

      9 years ago from Australia

      Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the stories from the Bible could be retold to suit today's lifestyle? Modern society may appear progressive but having a refresher in this story alone it seems we haven't come far at all. We still judge and criticise. I have learned also that the faults I find in others are, too often, reflective of my own shortcomings.

    • A M Werner profile image

      Allen Werner 

      9 years ago from West Allis

      Vern, I love the creativity! It is so easy to judge a situation without collecting all the facts. Sadly we live in a nation that is just as guilty of this as any other. In a place where freedom supposedly we reigns, we imprison more than any other country. Are the ones doing all the judging and locking away all that innocent? Are they truly looking at the hardships and indoctrination they might be going through in their homes and communities? Shouldn't we rather be looking for ways to help each other stand, rather than punish for their faults. This was awesome and stirs up much thought. Be blessed! Peace

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      9 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Hi Bella

      Thanks for stopping by and reading. For me, it is story of Jesus inviting us to experience genuine love in our lives and in our relationships.

      I'm not sure the woman needed forgiveness as much as she needed love.

      Anywho, thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate and thank you for the compliment about the writing.


    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      9 years ago from Yucaipa, California


      How are you? Thank you for the links and thanks for posting my link as well. I am glad you enjoyed my coloring outside the lines. It's interesting that the men never got stoned! As I was writing this little piece, I kept wondering what actually is adultery. In my book, "From the Frying Pan to the Jacuzzi," I invite couples to look at ALL the ways they are unfaithful to each other in the relationship and I think any kind of unfaithfulness is as bad as any other kind. Anywho, thanks so much for reading and commenting and posting the links.


    • bellawritter23 profile image

      Erica Sanchez 

      9 years ago from California

      This was very well written. I enjoyed reading it from start to finish. Thanks for sharing its always great reading of Jesus and his forgivings.


    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      9 years ago from Arizona

      Vern, you have colored outside the lines of the normal to present a picture of a particular scripture that the one divorce I had parted with my lawyer, saying "go forth and sin no more" as she walked away, it marked the day that I turned to the teachings of Christ and from the Corinthians my eyes were opened to this message and it's words turned to understanding knowledge of the words in a new light that took shape as some one much as you did here broke it down to a form that was clear that sleeping about was a sin and I committed it. Some times these lessons are required in a different light to be fully understood, God Bless You my friend and fellow sinner, Jesus is our one and only Savior, dust

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      9 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      I am glad you came away with that reaction. I wrote a hub some months ago(probably more like a year!)about greatness, namely God's greatness. So, yes, Jesus also possesses that greatness and I believe we can also share in it by practicing self respect and self acceptance.



    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 

      9 years ago from trailer in the country

      Thankyou for bringing alive a "living story"...isn't Jesus great?


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