When searching for wisdom sand would not be the a place were any of us would look. Sand is shifty and gritty and goes into unwanted places and is so easily moved. Yet it was in the sand that Jesus paused in a supreme moment of wisdom.
In John 8:1-12 we read the story that often carries the title “The Woman Caught in Adultery”. In a trap set by His enemies, a women (possibly naked) is thrown before Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees challenge Him to deal with her.
The Pharisees would have been expected the response most of us would have had:
- Shouting back at them in self-defense
- Pointing fingers to attack the accusers
- Asking where the man was who was also involved
- Asking for proof of the alleged crime
- Declaring this is not my problem and walking away
Surprisingly Jesus ignored their ranting and ravings and simply knelt down and wrote in the sand.
While there are many theories about what Jesus wrote in the sand, we don’t need to even consider what the words are to glean wisdom from this action. In writing in the sand Jesus did the following:
- He paused in the middle of a very tense and political, life and death situation
- It gave Him a moment to pray
- It gave Him a moment to think
- He used heavenly wisdom to respond. His response was
· “First pure,
· Then peaceable,
· Willing to yield,
· Full of mercy,
· And good fruits,
· Without partiality,
· And without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)
By pausing to write in the sand Jesus used His heart, His head and heavenly wisdom. His response was one of compassion and forgiveness with immediate and long-term good fruit, while completely defusing the volatile situation.
In our lives we are faced with similarly difficult dilemmas. Our enemies will attempt to trap us. Complex situations will take us by surprise. Wisdom will be needed in an instant and in our fast paced world our impulse would be to react immediately. Wisdom, however, demands that we take a moment to write in the sand, a moment to pause, to pray, to think.
If it takes for us to physically bend and write on the ground before us, the wisdom found is worth it.
Do you see any other lessons in Jesus’ response in this story? If so, please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
You may also like: