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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Foot Washing: A Lost Art?

Why, in the body of Christ, is foot washing such a rare occurrence, when Jesus himself said we ought to wash one another's feet?

Ought means duty, obligation - something we owe. When was the last time you washed your brother's or sister's feet? Or have you ever? Perhaps you feel it something to be done only by the Pastor or his wife as a church ordinance or tradition. But I challenge you to think of it in a new way.

"Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him." John 13:3-5 (NIV)

Try to imagine how you would feel if the Lord was washing your feet, as he did to the disciples. Close your eyes and picture this in your mind. Feel the soothing warmth of the water, the strength of His strong hands massaging your feet and toes. The texture and smell of the soap are rejuvenating. You felt so weary and tired, but now your feet are tingling. You are refreshed and humbled by His touch. Your soul feels restored by His service of love to you.

How shocked the disciples must have been to see their Master coming to them girded with a towel and carrying a basin. He was their Master yet He was doing the work of a servant.

"'What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this,'" John 13:7 (NKJV) was Jesus' answer when Peter questioned Him.

"So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, 'Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.'” John 13:12-15 (NASV)

There have been times the Lord told me to serve in this way. Once to prepare a sister for her wedding day: I washed and perfumed her feet. Another time, a conflict arose in a relationship and the Lord impressed upon me I must humble myself and serve by foot washing. This was part of restoring the relationship. Several times the Lord has sent me purely as an act of love.

When Mary washed Jesus's feet, it was a public display of adoration and preparation for His death. People were reproving the act of love she gave, but Jesus said,

"Let her alone; why are you bothering her and causing trouble? She has done a good and beautiful thing to Me. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, wherever the good news [regarding salvation] is proclaimed throughout the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Mark 14:6, Mark 14:9 (AMP)

Jesus said, "... whatever you did for one of the least of these ... you did for me." Matt 25:40 (NIV)

I can't be as Mary and wash His feet with my tears, but the Lord can and will use my hands to wash the feet of members of His body. What about you?

Copyright © 2013, Donna Collins Tinsley, used by permission.

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