Okay. First a little history. This event takes place in John 8, the day after the events that took place in Chapter 7:37 through verse 53. Let's look there first:
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.
When Jesus stands and cries in the Temple is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful and meaningful events in the life of Messiah. In John 7:2, we read that this was during the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles), one of the three Feasts of Ascension (when all Jewish men from 12 years old and upward were required to be in Jerusalem).
On the last day, the great day of the Feast, is Hosannah Rabbah, and a special ceremony took place as long as the Temple of God stood. The priest would be split into three divisions and perform certain functions.
The first would stay in the Temple and prepare to shout the Hallel and glorify God (along with the Levitical Choir and musicians) when the other two groups got back from their assigned duties.
The second division of priests would go out to the Kidron valley on the north of the Temple to cut down huge (25-30 foot long) willow branches. The willow branch is a symbol of the resurrection, for when these willow branches were put into the ground, they would take root and grow into trees. These priests would bring the branches into great stands to wave them over the Altar of sacrifice to make the sound of a mighty rushing wind to commemorate the day that God lit the fire of the Altar in Solomon's Temple (2 Chronicles 7:1-4). They would enter the Temple through the Eastern Gate (where the resurrected Jesus will enter at His return) and wait til the appropriate time.
The last group accompanied the Kohen HaGaddol (High Priest) to the pool of Siloam, where he dipped a silver pitcher into the pool to draw out of the well "Living Waters". As he drew the water out, he would sing/chant chapter 12 of Isaiah:
And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.
(can you see the Messianic prophecy here. The underlined part reads in Hebrew "Behold, God is Y'shua. I will put my confidence in and reverence him. YAH, YHVH is my strength, my rejoicing, and has become my Y'shua" -- Y'shua is Jesus name in Hebrew! )
After the water is drawn, the Kohen HaGaddol and his company would come up to the Temple through the Water Gate and wait outside the entrance. (as a quick aside, as soon as the companies of Kohen left, everyone would bow down and wait until the ceremony began)
What these three companies were waiting for is the sound of the flute. The ceremony began with the sound of a flute playing from the pinnacle of the Temple of God. This flute was called "The Pierced One" and had five holes in it (remember Jesus had five wounds: 2 hands, 2 feet and his side!). As soon as the pierced one cried out, the ceremony began. However, in this year, while everyone is bowing and waiting for the Pierced One to cry out, Jesus STOOD and cried instead (for He truly is the Pierced One - Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 22:16, John 19:34-37 & Revelation 1:7!)! HalleluYAH!
Jesus cries out and tells them "This ceremony we have celebrated together for 1500 years, it is pointing to this: I will cause the Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit] to come and dwell in you, if you will put your confidence in me, just like the Scripture said that the Kohen HaGaddol just quoted!" Many believed on Him on this day. And Jesus spoke with such power and authority that the Levitical Officers (who operated as policemen in the Temple complex and were commissioned to arrest anyone who disturbed the ceremony) could not arrest Jesus but simply said "No man ever spoke like this Man!" (John 7:46).
All of this takes place on the last day of Sukkot, the 21st day of Tishre. The following day is a minor Feast of the LORD called "Simchat Torah", or "Rejoicing with the Torah". It was supposed to be a great day of celebration and rejoicing before the LORD because God had given His people the Living Torah (who is, indeed, Jesus). Instead of rejoicing that Jesus had come bringing salvation, deliverence and the forgiveness of sin, the accusers came to bring accusation. On this day, Jesus was once again in the Temple teaching (John 8:2) -- the common Jews rejoicing with the Living Word, and the leaders bringing the accusation.
(I am sorry that this is taking so long to set up, but this information is needed to rightly divide the Word here, and have understanding of what Jesus said and did).
And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
Now just a little more history: Whenever someone was caught in adultery, both the man and the woman would be brought to the Nicanor gates and accused. If witnesses could be gathered to confirm that adultery had indeed been committed, then there was a certain ceremony that would be done in order to bring judgment. However, in this instance they only brought the woman. This was a violation of the Oral Law of God. Strike One.
Secondly, the priest was required to then stoop down and write the law that had been broken (na'aph, or 'adultery' would be written in Hebrew), along with the name of the accused, in the dust of the floor of the Temple (which Jesus did) [actually, the priest could write the law and the names anywhere, as long as the marks were not permanent - and the dust of the floor of the Temple was the most common place]. By doing this, Jesus showed these accusers that THEY were not keeping the law, but He would anyway. Strike Two.
So these men ignored the law, brought the woman only, and then continued with accusation. So Jesus stood up (after plainly demonstrating they were violating the law themselves) said "He who is without sin among you, lem him first cast a stone at her" John 8:7). THEY did not want to cast the stone, they wanted Jesus to condemn her, so they continued accusing.
Now to get this last part, lemme throw in just a little more history. Every year on Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), the Kohen HaGaddol would immerse up to 11 times in a Mikveh (a baptismal tank) in order to be ceremonially cleansed between each separate portion of the day's sacrifices. At the end of Yom Kippur, there was a celebration at the home of the Kohen HaGaddol, and there would be great rejoicing that God had received the sacrifice, and everyone’s sins had been rolled fore ward another year (as they were waiting on Messiah). To end the day, and announce to everyone the party was over (and it was time to go home), the Kohen HaGaddol would come out and quote Jeremiah 17:13 "'Oh YHVH, the Mikveh of Israel...' just as the mikveh cleansed me on this day, may the Holy One (Messiah), blessed be his name, cleanse all Israel when He comes".
(The KJV reads "Oh LORD the hope of Israel"... however, if you get your Strong's Concordance out, you can look up the word translated hope, and it is #4723 'mikveh' -- which is a baptismal tank).
So any religious Jewish man had heard this verse quoted by the High Priest every year since he was 12 years old. At 50, he would have heard it 39 times! (although Yom Kippur was NOT a Feast of ascension, many would come up for YOMA anyway, because of it's close relationship in time to Sukkot, when they had to be there anyway). The entire verse is as follows:
O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.
The way it reads in Hebrew is:
"Oh YHVH, the Immerser of Israel, all those who leave your way shall be put to shame (publicly embarassed), those who turn aside from my ways will have their names written in the dust and blotted out, for they have departed from YHVH, the fountain of Mayim Hayim (the waters of life).."
So Jesus gave them a chance -- they could have been just embarassed and then repented before the LORD. but instead they rejected, and in turn had their names written in the dust. This passage in Jeremiah is a Messianic prophecy of what Messiah would do when He came - and in this passage in John, we see Jesus fulfill the prophecy.
In my opinion, the most interesting part is verse 9:
And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
They heard the voice of God in their conscience, the Spirit of God bringing to their remembrance all the times they heard the Kohen HaGaddol quote the verse -- but instead of receiving the conviction and repenting, they departed from Him (just as it was prophesied!). They left from the eldest to the youngest, the older having heard the verse quoted more often (imho). And Jesus did this on the day following His announcement that HE was the fountain of living waters (John 7:37-39). Strike Three and they were out!
(as one more aside, then Jesus returns to his teaching of the multitude in the Temple, by saying "I am the light of the world"... this was the very morning that the four great lamps of the court in the Temple (which were called "The light of the world" were being extinguished after being kept lit for the entire celebration of Sukkot).
That is my take on it, and I can't wait to see the video of it in heaven.