Have you ever washed your kids feet in the bathroom sink? Most nights I’m either wiping Ellie’s feet clean with a baby wipe or washing them in a bucket of warm soap and water on the bathroom floor. I mostly don’t mind. It gives me the opportunity to remind her that I will always love her dirty feet and all. Oh and just to clear one thing up Ellie does get baths too. However, even on bath nights she manages to get her feet dirty after. Her feet get so dirty because she likes to run around the house without socks and regardless of how clean my floors are, the bottom of her feet are covered in everything icky by 5 pm each day. The thought of walking around without my feet covered makes my skin crawl but to each his own.
I was looking at some newborn pictures that we had taken of Jay. His little feet were so tiny and I can only imagine how much I’ll be washing them as well in the next few years. While falling in love with his tiny feet pictures I was reminded of the evening Jay was born. That evening as I sat on the toilet trying to muster up the courage to pee the nurse knelt down beside me and washed the blood off my legs and feet. It was the most humbling experience. This nurse served me in the most vulnerable way with no benefit to her. I mean, sure she is paid to be a nurse and maybe washing the feet of her patients is in her job description but it would be pretty easy to skip over the feet washing part. I would have never known. I also would have never complained. I also can’t even remember her name and for that I am ashamed. That night I was left with one question on my heart. Are we willing to serve when there is no benefit to us?
Can you look at someone who has nothing to offer you and still serve them? I had nothing to offer my nurse at that moment. I couldn’t even get thank you out because I was so stunned and frankly trying really hard to pee. Going pee after delivery is one of the hardest things I have done.
Read John 13:1-17
I think about how dirty the disciples feet must have been to have walked the dirty street. Much more dirty then Ellies at the end of each day. They didn’t have shoes that protected their feet from the human waste, animal feces and other filth that covered the streets. If they wore anything it was a sandal that didn’t offer much protection. Yet God didn’t look at any of them and say your feet are too dirty for me to wash. He didn’t send them away. He washed their feet.
God’s love for us even in the midst of our sin was what I was reminded of as the nurse washed my feet. When I think of the way I have been served by some important people in my life I want to be that for others. It goes beyond doing kind acts although that is important too. It’s truly sacrificing your wants and needs so that you can love someone else. I’m sure Jesus could have been doing much more when He was washing His disciples feet. However, to Jesus He was doing what was important in that moment. I don’t know that I’ve ever served anyone on that level but It’s my desire to wash the feet of those around me in a figurative way of speaking. That is what Jesus did for each of us on the cross. Loving us so much that He took the pain of the cross so that we could be forgiven and have eternal life. He bore the cross we could never bare ourselves. He sacrificed His life so that we could have eternal life. We can never repay him and He knew that yet He still gave his life for each of us. Can we be more like Jesus this year? Can we wash more feet? Can we look past the dirt we see on the feet of others around us?
Jesus is that for each of us. We can run to him when we are dirty and broken. We can run to him with dirty feet.
“After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And 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.” John 13: 12-15 NLT