In this day and age, we have little need of washing another’s feet.
However, back in biblical days, it was a necessity.
What was the biblical custom?
Yet, it was more than a necessity.
To the ancient Greeks and Romans, hospitality was actually one’s sacred duty. They were obliged to obey the Sacred Law of Hospitality, which meant offering bread, water, lodging, and protection to any traveler who came to their door, treating him or her as a guest.
They believed guests were sent by God and were to be treated as such.
Because the wearing of sandals caused the feet to become dusty and dirty, washing became necessary. Guests removed their shoes upon entering a home as they would sit on a mat, rug, or couch with their feet folded beneath them or extended on pillows.
If wearing shoes, they would have then soiled the couch or pillows or their clothes. Wouldn’t have been very comfortable to sit on either.
Usually, a copper basin would be offered for cleansing and a servant would assist the guests.
What was Jesus’ attitude?
One of the last things Jesus did for the disciples was to wash their feet.
At the Passover meal with His disciples, He laid aside His mantle or robe, which was probably the seamless one His mother made for Him, a tradition Hebrew mothers followed. And girded Himself as a servant. Taking a knee in humility of service.
Jesus then told them, “Since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you…Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.” (John 13:14-15, 17 NLT)
And He once said, “Learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart.” (Matt. 11:29b HCSB)
What should our attitude be?
Jesus said, “Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve.” (Matt. 20:28a TLB)
Our attitude should be as Christ’s: gentleness and humbleness in service. But do we have that attitude? Or does condescension rear its ugly head to push out humility?
We are to lay aside our mantle, our garb of fleshly pride, which hinders our service to other, and to assume the role of servant.
So, how do we wash feet today?
Because of the chaos and evil in the world, we can no longer just open our front door to anyone who knocks and welcome them in. However, as Hebrews tells us, “Do not fail to show love to strangers, for by doing this some have welcomed angels without realizing it.” (Heb. 13:2 EHV)
If we are to follow Jesus’ example of humble service, how do we do that?
Foot-washing can be of a different type. We can be hospitable to those we encounter throughout the day.
With a humble servant’s heart, we can…
*smile at others
*sit and listen to one in agony
*comfort the pain of a broken heart
*encourage one with positive words
*alleviate the distress of a worn-out soul
*offer a shoulder for the tears of one grieving
To serve, may we be “free of self-indulgence that we become servants of one another, expressing love in all we do.” (Gal. 5:13b TPT)
“Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.” (John 13:17b NLT)
And that’s how we humbly wash the feet of others today.
May your service be blessed…Lynn