Have you ever wondered about the true significance of this story? We seem focused on the mundane, for instance the first comment I hear from women are "well, where was the man? It takes two to tango... blah, blah, blah" or the younger set always wants to know "what did Jesus write in the sand?"
The true lesson wasn't about the role the man played in the act of committing adultery or why we need to know what Jesus wrote and if it was significant. The lesson is about judgment. Remember, Jesus tells the woman, "Nor do I condemn you, go and sin no more." He was acknowledging her sinfulness but not condemning her. Our true judgment will come for us when we go before God at our own final judgment. The Pharisees were trying to test Jesus on the Law of Moses and the Israelites, yet Jesus turns the tables on them. He reminds us we will be measured as to how we measure. For some it will be a harsh call. For the woman's accusers it was a humbling and pointed statement with regard to their own sinfulness. What is also interesting to note is that the accusers walked off before they heard Jesus' words of admonition. They were only baiting him, they could have cared less if the woman was stoned to death for her sin or not. For them the "fun " was over, Jesus was not going to play the game.
From the guilty to the innocent. The next day's reading brings us to Susannah, innocent yet accused of adultery and brought to judgment before the King. Susannah was spared because of her faith in the One, True God. It is our faith that leads us to righteousness. By our faith is reflected that which we do and the way we live our lives. Susannah had true faith and it was reflected in her prayers and in the confidence she had that God would spare her. We don't know for sure what happened with the woman caught in adultery but we are led to believe she went away with a new found faith in the One, True Christ. The woman was probably moved more spiritually because of the compassion of Christ and knew her sinfulness than if she had been stoned for the crime she had committed against the Law of Moses and died with no remorse only resentment in her heart for what she might have seen as an injustice.
If we pay close attention, woman will play a major role in the coming readings of the Gospel. It will be the women who watch and wait for Jesus during his Passion as well as on Resurrection Morning in the garden. It will be the women who get the "news" first, it will be the women who will keep the faith. Watch and wait for it...