“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:14-15
What is footwashing and why should you experience it? This practice is an increasingly lost art on much of Christendom. It is the simple act of kneeling before someone and doing as the name implies and Jesus modeled, washing their feet. It is most often ceremonial (minus actual soap and scrubbing) yet the simple process of holding and “washing” in a bowl and drying with a towel is observed.
Consider 4 reasons you, your family, lead team and/or a small group should experience this ancient act…
No1 – It’s humbling. Obviously. It’s the work of a servant. But what you may discover is not simply how humbling it is to wash someone’s feet, but also to have someone wash yours. From someone you love and respect to someone you may have never met, there is a deeper work of the heart involved in this sacred act.
No2 – It lends perspective. Beyond humility, the vulnerability of the act itself is revealing. Is there hidden pride in my heart? Where do I see myself in relation to the Lord and others? Jesus’ question in John’s memory probes deeper still, “Do you understand what I have done for you?”
No3 – It’s an act of worship. The penitent posture it requires positions not only our bodies, but our souls aright before the Lord. The fragrance of such an act wafts its way before the throne of God with a sweetness that pleases the Master. He is the Savior who stooped low that we might stand before the Father. We have perhaps never been as close to God than when bowed to wash the feet of another.
No4 – Jesus said so. Okay, it’s debatable for some theologians whether he meant for us to practice this as literally as an ordinance or metaphorically as we serve others daily. Then again, maybe it’s both? It has the same credentials as the other more accepted ordinances (Baptism and Communion). Jesus modeled it, asked it of us, and the early church practiced it. Shouldn’t this be enough to encourage us to follow His lead?
Maybe this practice is not only new, but scary for you? Take the opportunity to just observe at first. Then, take the risk. Grab a towel, bend your knee and join Jesus in this timeless and sacred moment.
What about the experience of footwashing has been profound to you? How has it impacted you, your family or lead team? Share your thoughts in the Reply section below…