The Story of Dirty Water

Numbers 5:11-31

Because of a sniper in the neighborhood, Beth was allowed to go home from school early one day. When she got home, she heard people running around in the back part of the house. Beth went to investigate and found her father and a young woman that she had never seen before. The woman was about eighteen, blonde, and dressed in a cheerleader outfit. She stuck out a lot in front.
"Hello," said Beth, being her best polite self.
"Oh, it's you," said Beth's father, looking a little nervous (and more than a bit silly with no shoes and his pants on backward). "Uh, this is my, uh, friend Clora Babylon," he gestured to the woman.
"Pleasda meecha," said Clora, giggling and smacking her gum.
"We were finishing up some work. Clora was just leaving," said Beth's father, and escorted Clora to the front door.
That night, after Beth's mother got back from her aerobics class, Beth went up to her and said, "Mother, do you know Father's friend Clora?"
"No, Dear One," said her mother. "Who is that?"
"She's a lady who was visiting today," said Beth.
"I see," said Beth's mother, her voice cold. "What were she and your father doing?"
"Father says that they were working," said Beth. "But it looked like maybe they had been exercising or something."
"Well, we have to believe your father," sighed Beth's mother (who was still a bit burned by the "Aunt" Holly Harlot incident).
"I know Father wouldn't lie," said Beth, "but if he did, how could we find out?"
Her mother thought for a moment, "Well, there's no way to tell if a man is lying, but if a woman and a man are doing something they shouldn't be, then there's a way to tell if the woman is lying about it. Here, let me tell you what God has to say on the subject."
Beth's mother lifted Beth onto her lap and this is the story she told:

One day God was speaking with Moses and he said, "Talk to the Israelites and tell them that if any man's wife lets another man put his penis in her while her husband isn't looking and she's unholy and there are not witnesses and her husband gets jealous so he's jealous of his wife and she's unholy or if the husband gets jealous and he's jealous of his wife but she's not unholy then the man should bring his wife to the priest along with a cup of barley that he hasn't poured any oil or frankincense on because it is going to be given to God because of jealousy and to make people remember and to give sadness to remembering."

"Boy, God sure does talk in long sentences," said Beth.
"That is the way of the Lord," said her mother.

"Then," God continued, "the priest should put the wife in front of me, put holy water in a clay pot, get some dust off the floor, and put it in the water. After that, the priest should put the woman in front of me again, make sure she's got nothing on her head, put the barley which is going to be given to me because of jealousy in her hands, and hold the dirty water that curses people in his hands. The priest should tell the woman, 'If you haven't let anyone put their penis in you, if you haven't gotten icky with someone other than your husband, then you won't have any dirty water that curses people. But if you have been fooling around, then you are gross and some man has put his penis in you other than your husband.' Then the priest should swear at the woman and say, 'God made you swear at people when he made your thigh rot and your stomach swell up. This water that curses people will go into your bowels to make your stomach swell up and your thigh rot.' The woman should answer, 'Amen, Amen.'
"When the woman's done talking, the priest should write swear words in a book and then smear them with the dirty water. Then he should make the woman drink the dirty water that curses things."

"Gross!" said Beth. "She has to drink water with dirt in it?"
"That's right, Dear One," said her mother. "God knows what is best for us."

God kept talking. "The water that makes curses will go into the woman and get disgusting tasting. Then the priest should take the barley out of the woman's hand and wave it in the air in front of me and put it on the altar. The priest should take a handful of the barley and set it on fire and make the woman drink more water when it is done.
"If the woman is unholy, then the water will get disgusting and make her stomach swell up and her thigh rot. People will treat the woman like she's a swear word. But if the woman isn't unholy, then she's clean. She won't be anyone's slave and she'll have a baby growing in her tummy.
"That's the rules for when a man is jealous. This way, the man will be guiltless and woman will get punished."

Beth thought about this for a moment. "Well, I guess that we could just give Clora some dirty water to find out if she and Father were really working today," said Beth.
"That might not be a bad idea, Dear One," said her mother, scowling and pursing her lips.
Then Beth smiled and hugged her mother. All her questions had been answered. All except for the one about how Clora's panties got in the fish tank, that is.