March 17, Tuesday
On the final day of the feast Jesus stood up and shouted, “If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink. Believe in Me, and as the Scriptures promise, out of your innermost soul will flow rivers of living water.” (We now know that He was describing what would happen when His followers received the Spirit. This hadn’t happened yet because Jesus’ work on earth wasn’t finished.)
The crowd was divided in their opinion about Him. Some were solidly convinced that He was the Messiah or the great Prophet they had been hoping for. Others couldn’t reconcile the fact that they understood Jesus to be from Galilee when they knew that the Messiah would have to come from Bethlehem in Judah, David’s hometown.
While some were trying to silence Him, no one could actually get their hands on Him. In fact, the officers returned to the Pharisees empty-handed. The religious leaders asked why they hadn’t brought Jesus; their reply was, “We never heard anyone speak quite like He does.”
The Pharisees fumed, “What? Surely you’re not falling for Him, too? Look around you; none of us Pharisees are taken in by His teaching. This accursed crowd doesn’t know the first thing about the Law.”
Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees who, unbeknownst to them, had privately visited with Jesus, spoke up, “Well, our law doesn’t condemn a man before it hears his side of the story, does it?”
The Pharisees glared at him, “You? Are you on this Galilean’s side? C’mon, you know that no prophet comes out of Galilee!”
After this, everyone went to their homes, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early the next morning He was back teaching in the public court of the Temple near where the offering chests stood. A crowd quickly gathered around Him. The scribes and Pharisees, trying to trick Him into doing or saying something they could turn against Him, brought a woman to Him, saying, “Sir, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. The Law of Moses requires that we stone her to death. What do You say?”
Jesus didn’t answer them directly. He bent down and started doodling in the dirt as if He hadn’t heard them. They kept prodding Him with the question until finally He stood up and said, “All right then, let’s begin. Whoever among you has never sinned can be the first to throw a stone at her.” He stooped down again and started writing something in the dirt. Whatever he wrote apparently brought conviction on the accusers, and one-by-one, beginning with the oldest, they walked away leaving the woman alone with Jesus.
When Jesus finally stood up and saw that they were gone, He asked the woman where her accusers were. “Has everyone left? Does no one condemn you?”
She quietly answered, “No one, sir.”
Jesus comforted her and said, “Then neither do I. Go on now and be done with sinning!”