A woman caught in adultery

May I take this opportunity to challenge your thoughts on the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery as it is related in John 8: 1-11. As I read through these verses and reflected on each one of them, imagining myself as part of the crowd that gathered around to listen to Jesus’ teachings, I was surprised by the number of emotions I experienced- ranging from anger right through to elation!

I will take you through this scripture and share my thoughts and emotions with you.

In verses 1 and 2, we see Jesus returning from the Mount of Olives and appearing in the Temple Courts, where a crowd soon gathered around Him, obviously curious, and at the same time intrigued by His knowledge of scriptures and interpretation thereof.

In verse 3 we see a group of Pharisees and teachers of the law - very knowledgeable people -the intellectuals of that era - bringing a woman who was caught in adultery, before Jesus. The Pharisees’ motive was to engage Jesus in an intellectual discussion or perhaps a heated debate about adultery and the punishment thereof that would ultimately trap Jesus.

Right at this point, in empathy, I suddenly feel a surge of anger sweep right through me because the woman was treated like a court exhibit, an object to hold a discussion around, stripping her of her humanity and dignity. I also feel ashamed as a woman, wondering why or how she had landed herself in this compromising situation, assuming that the Pharisees were telling the truth.

For the women readers, don’t you, at this point, feel an overwhelming compassionate urge to just run through the crowds and cover this sister’s nakedness and vulnerability?  Dear sisters, we need to search within, find and stay in touch with our female instinct of wanting to protect, not just our offspring, but one another, instead of slashing and slandering one another with words and stares, without even having our facts right, basing our reactions towards one another on assumptions and hearsay.

Of course, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, handles the situation with holy wisdom. In Verses 6 and 7 He matter-of-factly diffuses the excitement around the matter, by stooping down and writing in the dust with His finger, and then challenges all of us to cast the first stone if we believe we are holier than thou! At this stage, I feel, and can almost touch and slice through the sudden silence in the crowd, when everyone was forced to engage in a quick introspective exercise. What this statement says to me is that I, Seipati, cannot and should not be the judge and jury of my brother or sister’s fallen state; because I am no better than them, in the eyes of God.


In verse 11 we see the Mercy of God in action. This verse brings tears to my eyes because Jesus did not look at this sister’s sin, but through it, and saw the woman within-the beauty and potential in her, her purpose and destiny, her strengths and abilities. He saw what she could be, and not what she was. She probably went away feeling grateful, relieved and affirmed as a woman and as a human being. What more can one ask for? This verse fills me with joy because it assures me that “God’s unfailing love towards us,  Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth, and He removes our sins and rebellious acts as far away from us as the East is from the West” (Psalm 103:11-12).

Dear brothers and sisters, today Jesus is not walking around as He used to, in that era. Jesus is in us. Are we allowing Him to use us as His eyes and ears, hands and feet? Are we compassionate, forgiving and merciful towards one another?

The million dollar question now arises: If the woman was caught in adultery, surely, there was a brother who was equally guilty here! “ADAM, WHERE ART THOU?”(Genesis 3:9). You may be shocked by my comment on this issue, but I believe that the brothers that brought the woman before Jesus, probably thinking that they are exposing and assassinating her character, did her the greatest favour, because it is only at the feet of Jesus where we can all obtain mercy, compassion, forgiveness and everlasting healing. The Pharisees, by probably covering up for their brother, did him a great disservice, because he probably felt no remorse and never repented.

To the fathers and leaders of our households and nation, our husbands and brothers: My humble plea to you is for you to take a bold step in the right direction, towards Jesus, take responsibility for your actions, as men, in the social ills that are rampant in our society today, acknowledge your part in these atrocities, humble yourselves before God, confess your sins to Him. Surely, he will hear you, forgive you and he will heal our land. (2 Chronicles 8: 14),

The lessons that I take from this story are:

  1. We are all sinners in the eyes of God. Therefore, if you were to take Jesus Christ out of me, then I, Seipati, am no different from prostitutes, murderers, rapists and criminals.

  2. If my brother or sister is publicly condemned for a sin committed, it is not my place to slash or slander them, because I do not know why or how they landed there, but God knows. My duty is to cover their nakedness by standing in the gap for them, and intercede on their behalf in prayer. If need be, I will pray with them. By so doing, they will stand a chance of experiencing God’s mercy, forgiveness and healing.

May we all continue to strive towards being Christ-like,  “encouraging one another daily, so that none of us will be deceived by  sin and hardened  against God”( Hebrews 3:13).


About Dr Seipati 

Dr Seipati Makunyane- Rangaka is a qualified Ophthalmic Surgeon in private practice for 15 years at Lesedi Clinic. She also has a Satellite Ophthalmic Practice in rural Venda and served as a specialist consultant at St John’s Eye Hospital for 12 years. She served as the Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at Natalspruit Hospital and in the Working Committee of Ekurhuleni District Vision 2020 Programme for 18 months. She is currently the Head of Department of Ophthalmology in no 1 Military Hospitals and continuing to run her Private Practice after hours. She sits on the board of Directors of Fred Hollows Foundation.

She served as the leader of St Monnicca’s Anglican Church Life Enrichment and Education Portfolio for 2 years, a member of the Parish Council and a licensed and qualified Anglicare Lay Counsellor, trained at Rhema Bible School and FAMSA, providing counselling services at St Monnicca’s Anglican Church in Midrand. She was instrumental in the establishment of St Monnicca’s Young Women’s Fellowship. She is a Licensed Leadership Chaplain at St Monnica’s Anglican Church.

Together with her husband, Dr Thabo Rangaka, they run pre-marital counselling sessions at St Monnicca’s Anglican Church and are Directors in a People Empowering People Multi Level Network Marketing Business called GNLD.

She is the founder member of WOEM and serves in the operations and counselling department.