Read: John 13:1-17 and Psalm 131
It is very difficult to be part of a footwashing. It is very difficult to be the one washing others’ feet, especially if it is people with whom we are angry and fighting. It is even harder to be the one having our feet washed. We’re too proud to allow another person to wash our feet (just like Peter), and it is a very humbling experience. Especially if we’re fighting or angry with the person washing them.
But Jesus commanded us to do it. It is important to do so literally, because it is such a humbling thing to do. We can all use a good dose of humility from time to time. An especially good time to do this type of service is on Maundy Thursday, since that is when Jesus did it.
Jesus also wants us to wash others’ feet figuratively. He wants us to be a servant, putting aside our wants and feelings and doing something for someone else. He wants us to put aside our pride and our independence and take on a job that is humbling. The footwashing slave in a Jewish home was the one who was at the bottom of the “pecking order”. He was the least in the whole household. Feet were dirty, and to show the soles of your feet to someone else was an insult, akin to sticking your tongue out or making an obscene gesture. A few years ago, President Bush was visiting a middle eastern nation and someone started throwing shoes at him. It wasn’t so much that the shoes were all the man had to throw, it was that throwing shoes was a huge insult, a way of cussing him out without using words. To debase ourselves to the point that we accept and embrace this insult is truly humbling. God knows we need to put away our pride and selfishness, so he has us to do this type of job.
Go and wash someone’s feet today. Let it be your prayer.