Most people slip up sometimes and do things they regret. Her life was centered around enticing men at their lowest to go even lower. Few, after spending time with her, could sleep soundly at night. Instead, they toss and turn, wondering if others will find out.
She had some regulars, but most of her clients were complete strangers. Shame was her only consistent companion.
Last week, she was walking the streets in the afternoon and came upon a crowd. They were all looking in the same direction. She could hear gasps and see wide eyes. Typically, she avoided crowds, but her curiosity drew her closer.
She neared the crowd, then began pushing her way through. As soon as people saw her, they grimaced and sneered. The crowd parted as she walked on, to avoid contact with someone so vile. That used to bother her; she would feel hurt. Now she was just numb.
Silence swept through the crowd as she approached the spectacle. Then she saw Him. He looked over his shoulder and into her eyes…into her soul…and smiled.
It was an innocent, loving, and kind smile. A smile unlike any she had seen in years. It was so unexpected that she didn’t even notice what He was doing.
His arm was outstretched towards the one person in town who was treated worse than she was. Now it was her time to gasp, as she realized His hand was actually touching the leper!
But the leper didn’t look like a leper anymore. He looked…normal!
Her thoughts were reeling. “I have seen that leper since I was an innocent child and have no idea what his name is. Nobody does. Nobody cared. Until now.”
She stumbled as she tried to take it all in. The crowd was soon left behind her as she walked the streets for the rest of the day; not looking for work, but trying to make sense of what she had seen. But she just couldn’t.
“He possessed the power to heal a leper, and the mercy to touch him. And…he smiled at me.”
She didn’t work that night, or the night after that. How could she?
If only she could see him again; tell him thank you; honor him the way he deserved to be honored; say “I’m sorry”.
She didn’t know why, but for some reason she felt like every bad thing she had done, every temptation yielded to, every one in some way dishonored Him…wounded Him, even.
After another restless night’s sleep, she started roaming the town again and heard rumors…Jesus was coming! Without the ability to engage people directly, she had to eavesdrop around town to get more details.
He was coming to Simon the Pharisee’s house, tomorrow!
Excitement filled her heart, but it was immediately replaced by panic.
“I have to see Him, but there is no way they will let me in to a gathering of such holy people. What will I say?!”
But she was determined! No matter what it took, she would see Jesus.
Sleep evaded her that night as she tried to think of the right words. Somehow, nothing seemed appropriate. She had to say something!
“I know! I will give him a gift!”
She searched her small home and spotted her most prized possession…an alabaster jar full of ointment. It was the only thing she owned that was worthy of Him.
The morning finally came, and she dressed herself more modestly than usual. As the time for the meeting drew near, she was almost running through the city streets towards Simon’s house.
It loomed large and imposing in the distance, in a part of town she had rarely seen.As she got close, she could see that the courtyard was still open!
Her nerves caused her to stop just outside of Simon’s house. But she closed her eyes tight to build up the nerve to barge into the house of someone who would be furious at her intrusion.
As she walked in, everybody in the room turned and looked at her with scorn. Everyone, except Jesus.
He looked at her and everything else was instantly drowned out. He looked into her eyes. He knew…everything. How?! She had no idea. But it was true.
He was looking at every single page of her life…all the horrible, lurid details. She kept expecting Him to turn away in disgust. He did the exact opposite. He forgave her! He hadn’t said a word, but she could see it in his eyes.
She instantly knew no words would be appropriate as she knelt at His feet and began weeping. As each tear fell, she could feel her load lifting. A burden she had been carrying for decades was being taken from her.
She started wiping His feet with her hair, smearing the tears in the dust. Then she brought out her most prized possession and began pouring it on His feet. She had no idea that anyone was speaking around her, much less that they were talking about her. It wouldn’t have mattered.
Then she heard Him speak for the first time…only four words, but four words that would completely change her life. “Your sins are forgiven.”
Now it was her turn to gasp as her burden was completely lifted from her.
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace”
She stood up to leave and could feel a difference. She no longer stooped with the weight of her past. She felt lighter. There was something that she felt, as well…something new.
“This must be…joy.”
She slowly walked away, and those outside did not recognize the new woman who walked out of Simon’s house.