If I then your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

John 13: 14


So, what is it that Jesus is telling us to do? In the context of the story it is easy to see that He is talking about the actual act of taking water and a towel to use in cleaning other people’s feet when they come into the dinner table from the dusty roads of the city. This might not be our cultural norm, but we can do this. Thus it might be easy to take this small statement and consider it to be something that requires no more attention than just passing it by as an interesting bit of color in the story of the upper room. However, I think that there is more to learn from our Teacher.


On this night, Jesus was entering into one of the most deeply moving times of fellowship with His disciples that any of them had ever experienced. Nothing that happened on that night was insignificant. So, Jesus cleans the feet of the people that He is in fellowship with. He assists them in preparing to gather around the table of blessing that is found in the communion of saints. For us as it was for them this is a place of intimate contact where life is lived at its most elemental level. Here, in this gathering of people who are called together by Christ, is where our sins and triumphs, our weakness and strength is laid bare so that we can be ministered to by Christ and trough His body. This is a place where life’s harsh realities become a sacrifice upon the altar of God’s grace.


In our gathering together as the body of Christ, we are not likely to take out that basin of water and scrub each other’s feet. This is really not as big an issue in our shoe clad, paved streets world. However, what we can do is ask the real questions and listen in depth to the answers. We can embrace and wipe away tears while crying our own tears of sympathy and understanding. We can point to God’s word of truth and love and offer to walk that hard road into their daily application with our sisters and brothers. Following Christ means that we can desire to enter into the sort of community fellowship that He did. Desiring that form of deep relationship means that we are free to serve our spiritual family in whatever manner it takes to touch heart and soul with love.