A Reading from the Gnostic Gospel of James the Deacon

Jesus had to pass through Samaria, and as he walked with his disciples he was teaching them, saying, “I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman, commits adultery.  And adultery is the font of great evils.  For when an adulterous woman find herself with child, she will often go to the magicians and herbalists, who will give her a potion that causes her womb to drop and the child within her to die.  Therefore, if anyone would be my disciple, that one must be wise as a serpent to expose adultery and child murder to the light.  For what is done in the darkness is evil, but what is brought to light is light.”

As they walked on the way, Jesus looked ahead and saw Jacob’s well.  And behold, there was a woman of Samaria carrying a jar to fill with water.  And Jesus, knowing in his spirit who she was, said to Matthew, “Come here.”

Matthew said, “Here I am, Lord.”

Jesus said, “Matthew, go ahead of me and hide behind that bush near the well.  And whatsoever you hear pass between me and that woman, take down in writing.”  And Matthew did as Jesus said.

Then Jesus commanded his disciples to stay where they were and approached the woman at the well.  Now the woman was an adulteress.  She had had five husbands and the one she was with now was not her husband.  Moreover, she was now with child by that man. And the woman’s name was Abigail, daughter of Johanan.

And Jesus said to her, “My name is Jacob, and I perceive that you find me attractive.  Come and lie with me and I will be your husband and provide you a dwelling place all the days of your life.  Only this I ask: that you destroy the child in your womb that I need not give my inheritance to another man’s son.”

The woman was troubled in her spirit. She had lived a sinful life and destroyed five of her children. Moreover, she had learned pharmakeia from the herbalists and had given potions to many other women and destroyed their children as well, so that the anger of the Lord was heavy on her and she wrestled greatly in her heart about these things. But she feared she would soon be of the age when men do not love women, and even that day her husband had threatened to put her away. So seeing that Jesus was young and handsome, and had promised her a dwelling place all the days of her life, she agreed to meet Jesus at a certain place, that she might lie with him.  And she promised that before the Sabbath, she would destroy her child as Jesus commanded her to do.  Then she departed from that place to await Jesus at the appointed hour.

But Jesus, taking Matthew with him, did not go to meet her.  Instead, he went into the woman’s village and gathered all the townspeople together, including the man with whom she had conceived her child, and read aloud to them all that had passed between them, that he might expose the evil of adultery and the great crime of child murder to which she had agreed. And he told them of all the other children she had helped to slay.

And some in the village were troubled and said, “Did you not speak falsely to her?”

But Jesus answered them saying, “I was not lying but acting, even as the Greeks do in their theatres.  Moreover, because my purpose was to expose to daylight the great evil this woman was doing, what I did not was not a lie but the truth.”

And another person asked, “But did you not tempt her to do great evil in the eyes of the Lord?”

And Jesus said, “As long as I did not lie with her, I did not tempt her or do anything wrong. The evil was all in her heart and not in my words, which are truth. In the same way, when I persuaded her to kill her child, this was not evil on my part since she had already killed five other children and was hardened in her heart or she would not have given her consent. Therefore, it was an act of righteousness to persuade her to kill her sixth.  My word only exposed the evil in her heart.  I am without sin.”

And saying that, he took up a stone and said to the crowd. “Do thou likewise and follow me.”  And then he led them to where the Samaritan Woman was waiting and together they stoned her to death, even as the law of Moses prescribed.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Blessed is the man who is not afraid to get his hands dirty in the fight against evil.  And cursed is the man afraid to oppose evil by any means necessary. That one is a Pharisee and will not see the kingdom of heaven. For just as the Hebrew midwives lied to save lives and Tamar lay with Judah for the greater good, so you must also speak falsely to sinners and draw them more deeply into sin, as their sin deserves, that the righteous may expose and destroy them.  As I have done, so must you also do.”

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