My name is Mariam Magdalene; well Mary works ok, too. I guess I have been through a lot, but the Messiah fixed all that. His Greek name is Jesus, but Hebrew, it is Joshua, and it means Yahweh is our salvation or something like that. Well, Messiah Jesus saved me…
My mom told me early on, well as young as I could remember, that I had no father. Well, as I grew up, at some point, I realized that was impossible, and asked her a little more. She threw her head back, laughed, and said who my father was didn’t matter in the slightest. Well, it mattered to me. It felt like a piece of me was missing, and I kept my eye out for… Well, my mom was a porne, a prostitute. I had to learn that harsh truth when I was quite young as well. Off the main room of our house in Jerusalem were three smaller rooms. The one on the left was my room, and was the smallest. The middle one was, well she kept her religion stuff in there. She said she believed in the new religion. This confused me until she said she didn’t believe in Yahweh God any more. That shocked me. Everything I saw and heard around me… Still, she kept all her new religion stuff in the center room, and told me to stay out. Especially after she said she didn’t believe, I had no intention or desire… The third room was the biggest of the smaller rooms; it was her bedroom, she called it. Well, it also had a door to the outside. When I was very young, I slept after she put me to bed, and I woke up the next morning. As I grew older, at night I began to hear sounds, talking, things like that, in her bedroom. My mom sat me down, and told me the truth; she was a porne. That was how we were able to eat, and live in this nice house. I couldn’t argue about any of that… It was just one of those harsh truths I had to live with, I guess.
And my name… Magdalene is not my official last name. It means from the great one or something. The kids at Torah school called me that. Soon after I even started Torah school, I was easily the tallest one, not just the tallest girl, in any group. And I kept growing. And it didn’t help that my hair was much lighter than most around me… I seemed so different. I clearly stood out in any… I guess nobody liked me, liked that. The great one; they meant the Anikim, the giants. That name was their way of calling me a descendent of Anik. That really hurt. But that was precisely their point, making me hurt. I tried to ignore that, feeling hurt, as much as I could, even though I heard that nickname a lot. And I guess all the kids knew what my mom was, what she did… Well, Torah school was just very difficult for me. But, after all that, I kept the name. The main reason was, that if I used my real name, well my mom’s first name, that would mark me as the daughter of one of the most notorious pornes in Jerusalem. I used that nickname instead. It was just a lot easier.
After I finished Torah school, my mom began to ask me if I heard voices, dark ones calling out to me. Well, no, I wouldn’t want any of that. Even after all that, all I had been through, I still believed the Torah, I still believed in Yahweh, even if I had to sneak into the Temple to worship. I was usually stopped at the door, and sent home with contempt. Still, I didn’t want my mom’s new religion, and I told her so. I guess that didn’t stop her though. I would find that out the hard way. About when young kids actually became a part of the Covenent, I felt that pull start. Well, I thought it was just normal, wanting that, wanting a man, so I asked my mom. She laughed, said “finally…” and walked away. Doing that was really like a war going on inside me. I didn’t want to do it. Mom set me up a few times. She said it made more money. I didn’t… but I did… want… That next year was a blur, being torn so many directions… Then my mom died. She seemed fine, then… she didn’t get up the next morning… No one would tell me anything about… Of course, I was devastated, and the next month was horrible. But then, I realized… Here I was with this huge house, in the center of Jerusalem, and with no source of money or anything… I did what my mom did… I told myself it was inevitable… I didn’t think I had any choice… I didn’t know what else to do… That night, I lit the candle outside the visitor’s door… Men came… And I didn’t like the voices, always haunting me… That winter, I cleared out all of the stuff in my mom’s new religion room. I was appalled at what I found, and threw it all into the fireplace and burned it up, every last statue… The voices said that would make no difference. I was theirs, and it was too late. That didn’t stop me from praying to Yahweh God, pleading with Him to deliver me. It rapidly became clear to me that this, God’s deliverance, that was exactly what I needed. I was a porne. That was how I could afford to eat. I didn’t know how to change that. And those demons…
Still, I had heard rumblings about the Messiah, about this Jesus and the stuff he was doing. People talked about the many signs he was doing, miracles, things that were otherwise impossible. Jesus was not just saying the right stuff… He healed many, and drove out many demons… I needed that. Well, I also heard that both the Temple leaders as well as the Roman government had their eyes on this up and coming trouble-maker; I heard someone call him that in the market. Well, I realized that, if he was who everyone said he was, I needed him. I needed him to rescue me. I would keep doing the same thing until I died young like my mom, otherwise.
My first meeting with Messiah Jesus didn’t… Well, I definitely did not want to meet him like this. Sort of out of the blue, a visitor, a man asked for a rare, late afternoon visit. Business had been slow, and I needed the money, so I said ok. He came in my visitor door as usual, later in the afternoon. I had to wait around for him… Well, it was cool, and as soon as he came in and closed the door, I took my outer, hooded cloak off. I kept it much warmer in my house. But that outer cloak is all I had taken off. The man ran quickly back out that door, and… Well, a bunch of the Temple leaders barged in and grabbed me, and all but dragged me across Jerusalem, which really hurt. They stood me in front of Jesus, then they backed away. Well, even I knew we were interrupting… I backed away too. A sharp push came quickly from behind, and I fell forward to the ground… in front of… Messiah Jesus… He was teaching the people, of course, with care and patience, I heard that much. And I learned later, he had been there teaching the people since dawn. But shoving their way through the crowd, and knocking me down in front of him; that immediately interrupted him teaching. Well, maybe that was their point, I don’t know. Of course, Jesus stopped teaching when they barged forward. These jewish leaders wasted no time.
“Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. In the Torah, Moses commanded us to stone such. Therefore, what do you say?”
“Very act of committing adultery”; that was definitely a lie, not that they seemed to care. Still, I was scared to death. A stone, a lithos is a rock the size of a loaf of bread or larger. That would hurt a lot. And I knew the Torah well enough to know that the man should be stoned too, but he was long gone. That was small consolation. I was probably set up anyway. But I quickly realized that, since I really was a porne… I had this coming. The Temple leaders were right after all. Maybe not this particular time, but… The Torah was clear. I guess I just accepted my doom right then.
Jesus stooped down and began to write in the sand. The leaders had thrown me down at Jesus’ feet, and when he stooped down, I could see everything he wrote; the sun was low in the sky. He didn’t write just anything. He wrote the heart of the Torah, the 10 commandments. In clear Hebrew, Jesus wrote Yahweh God’s 10 words to the children of Israel. Well, I clearly noted that he left the one about Adultery out. Nobody would argue that Adultery is wrong, not even me. It was just very hard for me to find out enough from my visitors to always be sure… But I think I realized why he did that, why he wrote what he did. We all fail often at all of the 10 commandments. Jesus was reminding the Jewish leaders of that. And, it wasn’t just Adultery that the 10 Commandments cover. As Jesus slowly wrote out nine of the 10 commandments in the sand with his finger, the Jewish leaders kept asking Jesus the same question. From where I was, half sitting on the ground where they threw me, I slowly looked back, up at them. They were reading what Jesus was writing in the sand too. But they kept badgering him, asking him the same question over and over, probably hoping for a reason to throw him in jail, too. In the middle of writing in the sand, Jesus stood up, and looked the Jewish leaders in the eyes.
“He among you who is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone on her.”
He said this slowly, looking around at all of them in their group. Then he knelt down again, and finished writing out the 10 commandments in the sand. I was watching him write; reading what he had written was easy. Besides, most of the people of Israel know these words by heart. After he was done, Jesus stood up again. I turned again to look behind me. The Temple leaders were gone…
Jesus looked down at me. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?” he asked me softly.
As I said slowly “No man, sir” Jesus helped me up.
Then he told me what I needed to hear. “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
Glad I was even alive, and not in some Temple jail cell, I backed slowly away from Jesus, and tried to blend into the crowd. I was still the tallest… Jesus began to teach again, and I just listened. And, as I did, I realized that I needed to stop being a porne. That also meant that I would need to sell the house and try to find somewhere else to live. I didn’t understand how any of that would work out, but I knew I had to do what Jesus told me to do. I had to stop doing what I had been doing. I knew it was sin. I knew what he said was right. Almost immediately after I made that decision, the voices inside went crazy, promising me the most hideous retribution if I did what I had decided to do. I tried to ignore them. So, they just made me want a man, any man real bad. Well, it was early evening, and I went home. That night was horrible. Of course, I didn’t light the candle. In fact, I brought the candle in, and moved the table for it inside too. Still, a few men came to the visitors door anyway, knocked, and wanted… I sent them away, only to have a head full of demons scold me. I finally barred that door, all the doors, and curled up in my room from when I was much younger, and cried myself to sleep.
Selling my house was easy, and happened the next morning. I asked my neighbor how I should try to sell it, and he bought it on the spot. He was fair with me as far as the price went. He even gave me a few days to move my stuff out, which was fine, there wasn’t much. Still, selling my porne house was easy. Knowing what to do with 30 pieces of silver, knowing what to do next, that was the hard part. I did the only thing I knew to do. I found the closest well, sat down and cried. Well, I was crying out to Yahweh God. I was trying to do the right thing now. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I needed His help. I told him so, over the din of the ugly voices inside. Only He could rescue me now. I had taken the first, important step. I was pretty sure He would have to do the rest. I felt powerless, helpless, a point on which the demons in my head thoroughly agreed. I cried there at that well for a while. People would walk up, ignore me, get some water, and walk off. They probably recognized me…
As I cried to myself, another woman walked up and sat down next to me. “Hi, my name is Mariam… I think you need help…”
I ended up crying a while on her shoulder. It was Jesus’ mother. She remembered me from the Temple leader’s interruption yesterday. Still crying, I confessed that I really was a porne, but that I had sold my house to try to change, just like Jesus told me. Only now I had absolutely no idea what to do, where to go… I clearly needed to start over, but how…
Miriam said quietly “Jesus and his disciples, we sort of wander around, and don’t really have a place to stay, well except in Nazereth. Still, you are welcome to join us, if you want. We do travel a lot, and don’t always know where we will sleep…”
I knew I needed out of Jerusalem. I knew I needed away from the life I had been living. I had heard enough of what Jesus was teaching, what Jesus was doing, to know that he really was Messiah. I pulled thirty pieces of silver out and said quietly “Here take this. I want to learn from Jesus. I need to learn from Jesus. I want to come with you. Please let me… Please help me…” I almost started crying again when I was done.
Mariam seemed surprised at first. Then she sighed and said “Many do just as you have done, give us from their silver to help pay our expenses. May Yahweh bless you for this.” Mariam thought briefly then said “Well, we still don’t know how everything will work out; you need to know that too. The Jewish leaders seem very troubled by Jesus’ teaching, and I don’t know…”
“Can I please come with you…” I asked quietly.
Mariam smiled. “Of course.”
Jesus was teaching again in the Temple; we went there. I hung on every word… Of course the demons in my head hated every word too, but that just made me realize… Jesus was probably teaching what was true…
— ACR, c2017