After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. (John 13:12-17)
What does Jesus mean when He says that we ought to wash one another's feet? Are we being called to do one specific task, or instead to step beyond ourselves? He is calling us to look around and take action to aid our neighbors, wash away the grudges we are holding onto and be in community with one another.
The act of washing is long associated with cleansing and becoming holy, such as preparing to enter the temple, or cleansing meat. Additionally you can reflect on this as spiritual washing away of worries and guilt. A service of foot washing and/or this scripture should serve as a reminder that just as we need the forgiveness and cleansing spirit of our Lord, we need to offer forgiveness, compassion, and grace to others we walk in this life with. We are all called to not think of ourselves superior or too worthy to do something for another one of God’s children. And “washing the feet” of a stranger can start with a simple hello, or act of gratitude. So be ready today, this week, and continuing on to “wash the feet” of whomever may cross your path, because our Lord has shown that no one is too mighty to do this.
Dear Lord, I pray that you continue to offer your cleansing spirit on all of us, so that we can pour out your love on those in our community. Give us strength to offer forgiveness and grace, as we wash each other’s feet. Amen.
Kristiann Rushton — Caring analytical thinker