To Wash Or Not To Wash

  • Cast Number: 8
  • Run-time: 15 minutes
  • Bible Reference: Luke 7:30

Theme:            Pharisees and scribes discuss Jesus’ disciples eating without washing their hands.


Bible Reference:         Mark 7:30


Cast:                8
Pharisee 1 (P1) – Very religious; overly emphasizes eating without washing their hands; lives by the rules rather than the Word of God
Pharisee 2 (P2) – Very critical; can’t stand to look at the disciples; they look unclean, dirty, etc. This Pharisee values external righteousness
Scribe 1 (S1) – Reader of document that states the laws; reads from document
Scribe 2 (S2) –Mimes what Scribe1 says.
other non-speaking characters as available/desired


Set:                blank set with table and chairs


Props:            food, water basin


Lighting, Sound:         standard


Costumes:     likely traditional


Time:             15


Sample of script:           


Pharisees and Scribes come on stage, instantly begin to furiously wash their hands, inspect hands and wash again, look at each other out of the corner of their eye to be sure no one was washing more

Allow this to go on for a few seconds so that the audience is aware what is happening, then Jesus and the disciples come on stage,

Jesus stands off to one side, silently observing all that is going on between the two groups


James:             I am starving! . . . What’s for dinner?


Peter:              You are always starving James! . .  (to the other disciples, laughs) . . . Remember to grab some food before James, son of thunder eats it all!


John:               Good advice Peter. . . (ruffles James’ hair, giggles) . . . But my friend James here works hard, he deserves his food!


James:             Indeed we all work full days John. . .  Now, I ask again, what’s for dinner?


John, opens bag, takes out food:       
Well I see we have bread . . meat . . . fruit. . . . We eat well tonight! . .  Dig in everyone!


Peter:               Our cooks have outdone themselves today . . . very good food!


disciples immediately start eating

Pharisees and scribes look on in horror, point at what is happening

James and John indicate approval with thumbs up, etc., continue eating


P1:                   Surely you would not eat without washing your hands, not to mention your cups and all utensils!


S1:                   It is written, you will not eat with unwashed hands.


S2:                   Yes hands must . . . (furiously mimes washing hands) . .  be thoroughly washed, and all utensils . . . (mimes washing utensils) . . . thoroughly scrubbed.


James:             You must understand, we have been on the road all day. We are tired. We are hungry.


P1:                   None of which are reason to break the law. . . . The law is clear! . . One must thoroughly wash before taking a meal.


John:               Well we of course would agree with you, the elders, had we been doing manual labor today, but the fact is we were just out walking all day.


Peter, wipes hands on his clothing:     
As you can see, not so much as a speck of dust.


P2, looks away:           
I can not believe you would do such a thing! . . . You have broken the law!

S2, extends hands, shock:                    
Your hands are unclean . . . . and as a result . . (mimes eating) . . all that enters your body will be unclean.


John, throws apple to Peter:   
Here, an apple for you.


Peter takes big bite of apple, Scribe1 is shocked, reads from manuscript


S1:                   It is written, you must not eat a worm in fruit.


Peter, examines apple:
No evidence of a worm in this apple.


Peter quickly eats the rest of the apple

P2, covers eyes, turns his back to disciples


S2, mimes holding something in hands and examining:          
One can never know without close examination if the food has been infected.


P1:                   And one who eats food in which was a worm . . has broken the law.


S1:                   It is clear and non-debatable. . it is written, you must not eat a worm in fruit.


James:             We assure the elders that there indeed was no worms in the apple which Peter ate.


P2:                   It is not just worms, it is any impurities.


James:             Such as . . .?


P2, thinks:        It could be . . . anything . . . It could be . . . flies.


S1:                   It is written, you must not eat any winged insect.


Peter:               There is a law against eating winged insects?


S1:                   Indeed there is, It is written. . (reads) . . you will not eat any winged insect.


P2:                   Indeed it is written.


James:             I don’t understand. . . Locusts are considered edible food. . .  Yet locusts are winged insects.


Pharisees and scribes look at each other sheepishly


S2:                   That is . .  that is . . . Actually a special exemption has been made in the case of locusts.


John:               Well since the hour is late and we are tired and hungry perhaps a special exemption will be made whereby we may finish our meal.


P1, angry:        You are breaking the law of the temple!


Peter:               Look around . . . We are not in the temple.


P1, angry:        It is Jewish law!


James, face to face with PREL:                       
It is late . . We are tired . . . We are hungry . . . We will eat now!


P1:                   You are all breaking Jewish law!


John and Peter stand beside James


Peter:               My friend said we will eat now, and so we shall!


Pharisees and scribes unwillingly back off, John, Peter and James continue eating

Pharisees and scribes notice Jesus standing there and move to him

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