She would forever remember the day that He wrote in the sand
Have you ever wondered what Jesus wrote in the sand?
Do you remember the occasion? It was when religious leaders came to Him with a woman caught in adultery.
Some readers might immediately be thinking. “Oh boy! Another one of those nutters! No one really knows what Jesus wrote in the sand!” That’s what I might have thought if I came across a post like this.
More revealing than “What did Jesus write in the sand?” is “Why did Jesus write in the sand?”
I believe that Jesus was being very intentional when He wrote in the sand. Yet, despite being intentional in His actions, I’m not sure that He was necessarily trying to write anything in particular. I believe that His writing in sand was a prophetic action that pointed to a particular passage in the book of Jeremiah the prophet.
If you read the passage where Jesus wrote in the sand in its broader context and then compare it to a particular passage from the book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament, then I believe that you will understand why Jesus wrote in the sand. It was an announcement of God’s judgment.
See for Yourself
Firstly, Read John Chapters 7 & 8
To get a fuller context of the occasion read John Chapters 7 & 8. For ease of access, here are some significant extracts from these chapters for you:
7:1 After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him…7v37In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water…
(The clear rejection to the point of wanting to kill Him continued among the religious leaders. Then, the incident with the woman caught in adultery occurred the day after the announcement Jesus made at the feast.)
8v1bAnd early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
8v12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself,…the Father that sent me beareth witness of me…Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also….it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him…
The second passage to read is Jeremiah 17:5-13
Here is the important reference and connection to Jesus writing in the sand:
17v13O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.
Context is Key
Let’s consider the context of the woman being brought to Jesus. Keep in mind that the Jews had already wanted to kill Him (see John 7:1). Also, the day before the incident, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water’” (John 7v37). Although some that heard Jesus showed signs of belief, a negative sentiment continued, especially among the religious leaders.
So, clearly, the incident occurred in the broader context of Jesus (and therefore God) being rejected. Similarly, the context of the passage in Jeremiah is God being rejected. In Jeremiah, God said that He would write in the earth those who reject Him, the living water. Likewise, by writing in the sand, Jesus was, at the very least, referring to this passage in Jeremiah. He was pointing to God’s judgment on a people that had rejected Him, the source of living water.
What Jesus May Have Written
In the tricky situation that He was in, this picture illustrates what Jesus may have written 🙂
What Jesus Wrote in the Sand
The second time He probably followed up with, THANKS, DAD!
More seriously, if Jesus wrote something intelligible, some have suggested that He might have written the names of those around Him who had rejected Him.
I personally think that writing out that portion from Jeremiah the prophet would have made the point.
Nevertheless, simply mimicking God writing in the earth, as in the passage in Jeremiah, would have been sufficient to make the point. Intentional doodling in the sand spoke volumes! Besides, had he written anything legible, surely it would have been too marvelous not to mention in the account.
Jesus = God
Jesus said elsewhere, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” He also said that He only spoke what His Father was speaking and that He only did what He saw His Father doing. With that in mind, we know that Jesus’ actions had significance and that the recording of them is significant too.
Our response to a clear revelation of Jesus is really our response to God. Rejecting Him is to reject God, the source of Living Water.