Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:3-5)
I was going to John 14 last night, it’s my go to in time of need part of the bible, when I decided to read about Jesus washing the disciples feet, which is in John 13. I read it and then re-read it and it suddenly struck me that I really hadn’t ‘got it’ before about this, by ‘got it’, I mean, the enormity of Jesus (fully man, but also fully God!) washing people’s feet. He put a towel around His waist, he got the water and then washed their what were probably pretty horrendously dirty and gnarly feet. Then after realising the enormity of this (or it starting to sink in anyway), I also felt profoundly the gap between this and my thinking and ways of being. We all talk about ‘serving’ and about ‘being like Jesus’ but would we actually be prepared to serve in this manner? To have a heart like this? To serve others and love others in this way? Willingly? Without any ‘look at me’ or ‘martyr’ type airs? Is my attitude in line with His? I don’t know and probably not, is the honest answer. It’s something I’m still going over and thinking about. Another step in the journey I guess. It’s quite a shock when you realise quite how much you are self serving rather than outwards looking and humble. I also guess this is something God does, not ourselves, ‘for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure’ (Phillipians 2:13).
I’ve washed feet, as part of my previous work when I was district nursing, a lot of what we did was leg care, specifically (most of the time) for people with leg ulcers. This often entailed getting a bucket, filling it with water (and sometimes emollient), removing their leg attire and washing their feet and lower legs, then redressing the leg. There is definitely something in this act, something humbling, gentle, loving, kind, you go into their zone, they are being vulnerable with you and it is quite intimate to be washing the feet of someone you don’t really know (although you did often get to know them quite well). The simple act of getting on your knees at someone’s feet and looking after them is quite a humbling one, should you let it be. Also, once when I was doing it, the lady’s husband sat bolt upright from his bed suddenly and started belting out abide with me without any warning, it was awesome.
Then there is the humbling of our hearts, our proud, haughty hearts, to do this without the actual physical washing, but to choose to love others as ourselves and not to be selfishly ambitious in our lives, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is still a work in progress in my thoughts, heart and mind. Don’t you love it when God speaks and works and we actually notice?
I trust you Lord. You are God and I am not. Amen.
There’s probably a lot more that could be said on this, but I’ll leave it there. I like to keep it simple and fairly short. The kids are also wrestling right next to me and it’s starting to really do my head in. So I need to stop typing 🙂