October 13, 2000


Writing On The Sand


But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. "Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."


John 8:1-11


He was surrounded by the crowds

eagerly watching His every move

hanging fast to His every word

wondering what wonder next would come

the sound of their voices ceasing

as stern men, surrounding a woman,

approached to hear Him stumble

at the cleverness of their problem


men who never felt the joy of love

waiting in secret to condemn

never thinking that the law demanded

they confront in daylight to protect

that which weakened, faltered

men who, mistaken, saw a broken law

not the broken life before them


they confronted Him, asking Him to judge

Who never came to judge

while they, uncaring, stood confused

as He stooped

and began to write upon the sand

with hands that ages past

formed from that very soil

their father who like them


then more confused as He rose

and permitted them to kill

if only they themselves were pure

and one by one they left

condemned and yet not saved


alone with the woman caught in sin

the very act her condemnation

the crowd waits


what on earth would happen now

eternity paused upon the brink

a hush upon the world

as this man to this woman

declares humanitys future


“Neither do I condemn you”

Who most has cause to judge

“Go and sin no more”

Who alone could conquer sin

with power beyond all of mans

proclaiming that which was broken



eternity races on

humanitys babble now continues

yet none of us will He condemn

who likewise fall upon His grace


Writing on the Sand
A poem by Peter Rhebergen

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