The Woman Who Couldn’t Let Go

By on March 1, 2015
Sodom and Gomorrah

By Carole Towriss−

Adith stirred the embers into a flame then placed the large flat pan on the fire. She patted bread dough into rounds. Her fingers, numb to the heat of the metal from years of cooking bread, brushed the pan as she flipped them over.

Before long a stack of bread joined dishes of dates, chunks of dried cheese, and bowls of yogurt. She carried the food to the table and poured cups of goat milk and watered wine for the two guests who had unexpectedly shown up hours earlier.

The men sat down with her husband, Lot. She kept the dishes filled and the cups near to overflowing.

“Lot, do you like it here in Sodom?” one of the guests asked.

“I do. The land is rich and fertile. I have become rich here.”

“Would you ever consider living anywhere else?”

Lot laughed. “Of course not. Why would I? My flocks are the envy of everyone in this area.”

Adith had noticed a hum as she served the men which now grew louder. She jumped as someone banged on the door.

“We know you have men in there! Now send them out so we can sleep with them.”

Heart racing, Adith ran to her husband. “The men of the city are outside!” She whispered in his ear. “They are demanding you send the men out to them!”

Lot smiled broadly as he stood. “My dear guests, excuse me while I get some more of our best wine.”

He opened the door and closed it behind him, but Adith placed her ear to the wood. She heard him beg the men of Sodom to leave his guests alone, to honor the responsibilities of hospitality.

“Look, I beg you, don’t do this,” he said. “I have two virgin daughters. I’ll bring them out for you instead.”

Adith gasped.

The men began shoving on the door, trying to get in. Tears gathered behind her eyes at the sound of her husband groaning as the men pressed him against the door. Would they hurt him? Worse?

The door creaked, and Adith feared it would break.

Their guests jerked the door open and yanked Lot inside. At the same time the men outside screamed. “I can’t see!” They cried out as they bumped into the door and into each other. Eventually, they gave up and left.

Grateful he was safe but appalled by his words, she stared at Lot. “You offered our daughters?”

“I knew they only wanted men. I was stalling for time.”

The men interrupted. “Do you have any more family here?”

“In the house?” Adith asked.

“No, in Sodom. Anyone you want to save needs to be in this house tonight.”

Lot shook his head. “Who are you? What are you talking about?”

“We are messengers of God. He is distraught by the evil and depravity of this city, and he has sent us here to destroy it.”

Adith grabbed Lot’s arm. “You must go get the men who have pledged to marry our daughters!”

He opened the door just a crack. “All right, they’re gone. I will be right back.”

The next morning, the messengers insisted. “Lot, if they refused to come, you need to take your wife and daughters out of here. Otherwise you will all be destroyed along with the rest of the city.”

“Please, just give them a little more time,” Adith pleaded.

“You have no more time. We have our instructions.” The messengers grabbed Lot, Adith and their daughters and dragged them from their house to the outskirts of the city. “Now run! Don’t look back or stop anywhere until you reach the hills, or you’ll die along with everyone else.”

Lot’s chest heaved. “Please, I can’t run all the way to the hills. I’m too old. There is a little town right over there.” He pointed south of Sodom. “I can run that far. Can’t we go there?”

“All right, we will save that city. But hurry, because we can’t act until you are safe. Run, but don’t look back.”

Lot held out his hand, and Adith reached for it. They raced toward the village.

Memories flooded her. Her wedding feast. Her daughters’ births. The meals and celebrations…

The smell of sulfur and burning wood surrounded her. The sounds of crackling fire. The sky above her lit up. How could she leave it all behind?

“Don’t look back.”

The messengers’ words replayed in her mind.

Surely just one look couldn’t hurt, could it?

She turned, and felt Lot’s hand slip away…

~~~~~

We’ve all heard the story of Sodom and Gomorrah many times. Lot’s wife, unable to let go of her life in Sodom, turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back at her burning past. There are scientific explanations for that, but we won’t get into those here.

We do want to know why. Why couldn’t she leave such an evil life behind her?

Lot and his wife had become entirely too comfortable in Sodom. Lot, you may recall, was Abraham’s nephew. He had an exceptionally righteous example. Genesis 13 says Lot “pitched his tent near Sodom,” but he ended up moving into the city, eventually becoming one of its elders since he was sitting at the gate when the messengers arrived in Genesis 19.

Through all of this, we see no argument from his wife. Little by little, she agrees to becoming part of the world of Sodom, all so they can live a more comfortable, wealthy life. She even allows her daughters to become engaged to men of the city, men who refuse to heed the angels’ warning and die when the city is destroyed.

Lot and his family did not influence Sodom. Sodom influenced them, and not for the better.

And in the end, they lost everything. Their home, their status, their possessions, and for her, life itself.

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” ~Matthew 6:21

 

 

Carole Towriss

About Carole Towriss

Carole Towriss grew up in beautiful San Diego, California. Now she and her husband live just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling her four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, she reads, watches chick flicks, and waits for summertime to return to the beach. You can find out more about her Biblical fiction novels at http://www.caroletowriss.com/.

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The Woman Who Couldn’t Let Go