Episode NT17 – The Woman Caught Committing Adultery

tale2tell original Bible Stories series – New Testament

Based on John chapter 8

The Woman Caught Committing Adultery

It was the people who thought they were more religious than anyone else, the Pharisees and teachers of the law who started to oppose Jesus. They hated the fact that the people loved Jesus. But what they hated, even more, was that every time they tried to show Jesus up, to catch Him out, He ended up proving they were wrong and embarrassing them in front of the people! But if somehow, they could get Jesus out of the way, the people would come back to them – just like it was before!

So here was the problem. How to get rid of Jesus?

As far as His enemies could see there were only two ways. Either you got Him into serious trouble with the Romans so they’d arrest Him. Or, you proved that He didn’t take the Scriptures seriously, the bit we call the Old Testament in the Bible. If they could show He didn’t respect what the Scriptures taught, then the people wouldn’t trust Him any more!

It took some working out, but after a lot of thinking they came up with a plan! One of the laws in the Bible says that if a person was found committing adultery, sleeping with someone who wasn’t their own husband or wife, then all the people should throw rocks and stones at them until they died.

However, the Romans wouldn’t let that happen any more. They were in control now and they had their own law which said that only they were allowed to pass the death penalty – it was forbidden for the Jewish people to take matters into their own hands and stone people to death without Roman approval. If the Jews stoned someone to death, the Romans would arrest the person who started it and put them in prison!

This was the perfect opportunity to discredit Jesus; all they needed to do was find someone guilty of adultery. Then they would drag that person before Jesus and ask Jesus what should be done! If Jesus said that the person should be stoned to death, then the Romans would arrest Him and put Him in prison. And, if He said that the person shouldn’t be stoned to death, they’d accuse Jesus of not taking the Scriptures seriously showing He couldn’t be trusted. All they needed to do was find someone guilty of adultery. (PAUSE)

As they dragged the woman towards Jesus all they could think about was how much they hated Him!  So what if the woman died? She was guilty of adultery; she’d slept with someone who wasn’t her husband so she deserved to be punished! Anyway, what did she matter, all that mattered was getting rid of Jesus, to silence Him and discredit Him once and for all!

Turning themselves into an angry mob they pretended to be outraged at what the woman had done! Dragging her along, they pushed her in front of Jesus who was teaching in the temple. ‘Teacher,’ they shouted, ‘this woman was caught in adultery! The Law of Moses says that she must be stoned to death for her sin. But what do you say?’

They could barely hide the smiles on their faces. They had Him, it didn’t matter what He said now! If He told them to stone her to death – they’d have Him arrested by the Romans, and if He said to let her go, they’d mock Him and discredit Him as being a person who didn’t obey or respect the Holy Scriptures. (PAUSE)

In those days, when a teacher taught a crowd of people they would sit down, and Jesus had been sitting on the ground. But instead of answering the cries of His enemies, He leant forwards and started to write in the dust with His finger.

His enemies could hardly hold back their joy, they’d got Him! At long last, they’d caught Him out. And so they pressed Him harder and harder for an answer. ‘Come on Jesus; tell us what we should do. The Law of Moses says she should be stoned to death. What do you say? Come on tell us, teacher, You know all the answers. What should we do?’

On and on they pestered Jesus until finally He sat up straight and looked up at them. The crowd watched Him in silence waiting to hear what He would say. ‘All right then,’ He said, ‘stone her to death…’ As the Pharisees and teachers of the law opened their mouths to speak, Jesus continued. ‘BUT, the first person to throw a stone at this woman must be someone who has never sinned!’ After He’d said this He lent forwards again and carried on writing in the dust.

The crowd stood in silence, rocks in their hands ready to stone the woman but now not sure what to do! (PAUSE)

It was the oldest men who left first, letting the rocks slip from their hands as they thought about all the many ways they’d let God down over the years and broken His law time and time again. The younger men followed shortly because everyone’s sinned, everyone’s fallen short of God standards. Finally, it was only the woman left standing before Jesus.

Looking up again He saw her standing before Him, alone. ‘Where have all your accusers gone?’ He asked. ‘Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’

‘No Lord,’ she replied, as she looked across at Jesus, unsure of what He’d say next.

‘Then neither do I you,’ He told her. ‘Go now, but make sure you don’t sin any more.’

Episode NT8 – Life-Giving Water

tale2tell original Bible Stories series – New Testament

Based on John chapter 4 verses 1 to 42

Life-Giving Water

As Jesus and His disciples travelled north to Galilee they went through a part of Israel called Samaria, filled with people who weren’t pure-blooded Jews. The pure Jews looked down on the Samaritan’s and, the Samaritan’s hated the Jews. Both did everything they could to avoid each other.

As they travelled through Samaritan territory, they came to the village of Sychar. Jesus was very tired from the long walk and sat down at the side of a well – at about midday, while His disciples went on into the village to buy some food.

Now, normally, the women of the village would come at a certain times of day to collect water for their families. A woman wouldn’t usually go on her own to the well unless there was some kind of trouble – maybe the other women were being nasty about her, or there was some kind of emergency. But, for whatever reason, today, as Jesus sat beside the well, a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the deep well.

As well as not liking Samaritans, Jewish men – and especially teachers and leaders – avoided contact with all women outside their house, even Jewish women. They wouldn’t even talk to a woman out on the street – it wasn’t the ‘done thing’. So can you imagine this woman’s surprise when a Jewish man looked over to where she was drawing water and actually spoke to her? A Jew talking to a Samaritan was unusual enough, but a Jewish man talking to a Samaritan woman! This was unheard of!

‘Please, would you give me a drink?’ Jesus asked.

As the woman poured a drink for Jesus she looked at Him with a puzzled look on her face. ‘You’re a Jew,’ she said, ‘and I’m a Samaritan woman! Why are you asking me for a drink?’

 ‘If you knew the gift God’s got for you – and who I am,’ Jesus replied, ‘then you’d be asking me for a drink and I’d give you living water.’

The woman laughed to herself, how could this man, without bucket or rope, draw water from the well? ‘You don’t have a bucket or rope,’ she said. ‘So where are you going to get this ‘living water’ from then?’ She asked.

‘Those who drink the water from this well end up getting thirsty again.’ Jesus replied, ‘But the water I give takes away thirst altogether. And not only that, it becomes a never-ending spring inside them, giving them eternal life!’

You see, Jesus wasn’t talking about ordinary water He was talking about the Holy Spirit who gives eternal life! But the woman still hadn’t understood, and thinking how wonderful it would be to not need to come to the well each day she said. ‘Oh, please sir, give me some of that water. That way I won’t get thirsty again and need to come here every day.’

‘Go and get your husband,’ Jesus told her.

This was suddenly getting uncomfortable for the woman. ‘I don’t have a husband,’ she replied.

‘That’s right,’ Jesus said. ‘In fact, you’ve had five husbands and the man you’re living with now you aren’t even married to!’

The woman hadn’t expected this! Who was this man? She wanted to change the topic as quickly as she could. ‘I can see you’re a prophet. Erm, tell me, why do you Jews insist on worshipping God at the Temple in Jerusalem while we Samaritans say we should worship God here at Mount Gerizim?’

‘A time’s coming soon when it won’t matter where you worship the Father.’ Jesus replied. ‘You Samaritans don’t really know much about the God you worship, while we Jews know all about Him because salvation comes through the Jews. But a time’s coming, in fact, it’s already here when true worshippers of the Father will worship Him in spirit and in truth.’

The woman was beginning to struggle with all Jesus was saying, ‘I know the Messiah will come,’ she said, ‘the one they call the Christ and He’ll explain everything to us.’

‘I am that Messiah!’ said Jesus. (PAUSE)

As Jesus spoke, the disciples returned. (P) And they couldn’t believe their eyes! Jesus was talking with a Samaritan, and to make things even more uncomfortable, a Samaritan woman! As they arrived with the food, the woman left her bucket beside the well and ran back to the village. When she got there she started talking to everyone she could find, ‘Come and meet this man down by the well, He’s told me everything I ever did! Do you think He could be the Messiah?’ At this, the people hurried out of the village to meet Jesus.

As the woman was hurrying off to the village, the disciples urged Jesus to take some food. ‘It’s ok,’ said Jesus. ‘Because I’ve food to eat you don’t know anything about.’

What could Jesus be talking about? – the disciples asked each other? Had someone already brought Him some food that they didn’t know anything about? But Jesus wasn’t talking about natural food; the food He meant was entirely different.

 ‘The food I’m talking about – is to do what God wants me to do – and finish that work,’ Jesus explained. And then, as the people from the village started to come to meet Jesus He said. ‘Just look around you, it may be four more months until the crops in the fields are ready to be harvested. But can’t you see that already vast fields are ready for the harvest?’ (He was talking about people). (PAUSE)

Many of the Samaritans from that village believed in Jesus because of what the woman had said. But when they came to meet with Him beside the well, they begged Him to stay with them in the village. And so Jesus stayed two more days, long enough for many of the people to hear what He had to say – and to believe. And after they’d met with Jesus and heard His message they said to the woman. ‘We believe in Jesus now, not just because of what you told us, but because we’ve heard Him ours tale2tell original Bible Stories series – New Testamentelves. And now we know that He really is the Saviour of the world.’