Last Thursday our bible study women decided to participate in a foot-washing ceremony together. Thursday was Maundy Thursday, the day to commemorate Jesus’ washing of His disciples’ feet. We had a large bowl and towels. At that point no one was sure they wanted to have their feet washed or to wash the feet of another. The feelings that came up as we explored the hesitation were a bit surprising, but perhaps common. One spoke of being ashamed. Another felt a strong feeling of vulnerability. Another of a sense of being exposed.
Then we talked about why Jesus might have wanted to do this for His followers. Firstly, being washed on the outside is a symbol of being washed on the inside. This concept is repeated many times through the cleansing rituals all the way to the baptism in water for the cleaning of sins. In the time that Jesus lived on earth we know the feet were constantly exposed to dust and other dirty things. To wash someone’s feet was expected of a servant of the host. It was a kindness.
The strongest reason for Jesus carrying out this service for His disciples was spoken by Him. He wanted to demonstrate His humility and love and willingness to bow down before these men and care for them. We experienced such a love for each other and were able to receive that love.
Scriptural references: John 13:5, Acts 22:16, Eph. 5:26, I Co. 6:11