Monday, 25 March 2013

Washing of feet

This week, many churches re-enact the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet before the Last Supper. The priest washes the feet of 12 people representing the disciples. You can bet that the chosen 12 have ensured that their feet, (or foot, because usually one foot is washed to speed the whole procedure), are/is as clean as could be, to avoid embarrassment during the re-enactment.

At the time of Jesus, however, things were different. Streets were not as modern and clean as they are now in our towns and cities. They were dusty, muddy if it rained, and no doubt full of deposits from horses, camels and cattle. People wore sandals or even walked in bare feet.

So when they entered a house as guests washing their feet must have been an essential task rather than the symbolism it is in today’s churches. A task left to the servants to undertake.

When Jesus offered, insisted even, in washing His disciples’ feet He was teaching them, and us, a very important lesson.

Here is God Himself, born in poverty, raised in poverty, living in poverty, submitting Himself to perform a task reserved for servants.

Perhaps the disciples didn’t understand the significance of what Jesus had just done. Maybe we don’t understand it ourselves right now.

Yet, He was preparing for an even greater submission and humiliation for us.

Dying a most horrible and painful death on the Cross.

Just for us.


  1. This is a beautiful post for this week, Victor. I remember my daughters washing and massaging my feet when I had my last two babies. It meant so much that they cared enough to want to do it and I felt that I understood more about why Jesus washed the disciples feet. It seems that it can be an act of love and compassion as well as humility.

    God bless, Victor:-)

    1. Thank you Vicky.

      What a nice thing for your daughters to do.

      I don't think the washing of feet is well explained in church in Holy Week. Jesus was preparing for the greater sacrifice of giving His life for us.

      God bless you and your family, Vicky

  2. right to the crux of the meaning of Christ's mission

    1. Precisely, Melanie. Christ was preparing to die for us.

      God bless you and yours.

  3. I remember one Holy Thursday watching my pastor as he washed the feel of parishioners. He didn't let anyone help him with the towels or the water basins or with cleaning it all up after. He did it all. And I was so struck by the humility of it all and I have never forgotten that Aha moment.
    God bless!

    1. What a wonderful thing for your priest to do. God bless him.

      Mat He bless you and your family too, Colleen.

  4. Great perspective on Holy Thursday (which is when I am catching up on this one)

    Our priest often half-jokes that to understand what He did when He washed their feet, one must realize they spent all day walking on dirt roads behind animals. I wish I appreciated just half of what that meant. What a lesson in humility.

    God Bless.

  5. Yes Michael, it was true humility and love from Jesus to His Disciples, and also to us.

    God bless.

  6. It can be easy for me to look at the ritual of washing of the feet with cynicism, because sometimes I think we have turned this beautiful lesson from Jesus and turned it into a controlled ritual.

    But my cynicism is unnecesary, as it is merely a symbol. But if we just stop at the symbol and progress no further into the reality and sometimes uncomfortable and dirty practices of humility, then we are missing the point completely.

    I hope we can all grow in humility through service this Holy Thursday!


    Jose D. Pinell.

    1. Yes Jose. What Jesus did was humility, love and obedience to His Father.

      God bless you. A Happy and Blessed Easter to you and your family.



God bless you.