(Excerpt from Beyond Religion, NEVERTHELESS)


“Every step pronounced her doom. Yet she felt compelled to move forward. The sound of her feet moving through the stony path reminded her of her life. Thinking to herself, It’s all or nothing. I have nothing to lose but everything to gain. I will do it. It’s now or never. I must. I will. Even though it costs me everything. Clutching her most precious possession, she continued. Tightening her veil around her head, she allowed her shoulders to droop and her head hung low. She dared not look up. There were only one set of eyes she wanted to see and that was worth it all.

The crowd was thick and unyielding. Pressing against them, she inched her way closer to her destination. With adrenaline gushing, her relentless resolve to press in and break through ignited every step. Her one thing, her only desire, was to see His face and beg His forgiveness. Perhaps, just perhaps He would see her, not as others did, but as she truly was. She recalled the testimony from the Samaritan woman who had met Him at the well. Their encounter was real. Her change was real. He was real. Thinking, If He spoke to her, He will speak to me. I only need to get near Him.

Winding her way through the throng she pressed on. Their presence confirmed with each step that she was moving in the right direction. Looking up a few times, she saw disdain and hatred in eyes that glared back. Bowing her head, she kept moving forward battling internal fears and resisting the urge to give up and hide. Yet there was something compelling her onward; as if an invisible hand gently pushed against her back. Muttering as she walked, she repeated, “Not today, not today, I will not run away. I will see Him, and even if I don’t, nevertheless, I will move forward.”

Finally arriving in front of the prestigious house, she hesitated. Men dressed in priestly distinction lined the path. Their dark and intimidating presence made her shiver. Inhaling deeply, she clutched the “alabaster flask of fragrant oil,” (Luke 7:37) even tighter, so much so that it made a painful impression in the palm of her hand. Pulling her veil even closer, she bowed lower. Just a few more steps, she thought, and it’s over. He’s here. I can feel His presence. I must see Him.

It was then one of the finely dressed priests noticed her figure and gasped in shock. Thinking, what is she doing here? The gall, the affront, the disgrace to be seen in daylight, and in public. How dare a sinner like her come to this holy house? He tried blocking her path by standing in her way. Trying to move around him to avoid personal touch, she found herself trapped. Then in desperation she did the unspeakable and pressed against him to pass by. He jumped, turned around, shook his clothes as his eyes burned through her skin. No words were necessary. Speaking to her would acknowledge her presence. So, he stepped aside as if she were a leper.

Other men dressed in similar distinction saw his reaction, and recognizing her they to stepped aside. She in turn, recognized many of them as she looked through her veil. Their presence confirmed that she had every right to be there. She, therefore, boldly moved forward.

Intrigued by her presence, every man entertained similar thoughts, If He’s a prophet, He would know what manner of woman she is? I can’t wait to see Him exposed as a fraud. Perhaps he’s one of her customers to and she’s here to expose him. They therefore made a clear path to avoid contact as silence engulfed the atmosphere. Drowning out the silence, she continued stepping forward. She must see Him. Hearing about Him was not enough. She had to encounter Him for herself. Nothing else and no one else existed.

Now walking through a clear path, she was standing in the open doorway. She saw Him.”