Recently, I acquired a splinter in my big toe and it wouldn’t come out no matter how hard I tried. The splinter simply kept getting deeper and deeper. So, I finally decided to see if a pedicure could rid me of the tiny pain in my toe and spruce up my deprived feet. The kind man who pampered my feet gently washed and scrubbed every inch of tough skin and eventually worked the splinter right out of my toe. He handled my feet with great care and attention. The entire time he was working on my feet, he and his co-workers were laughing, telling stories, and having a great time. I even commented to them how nice it was to see them enjoying their jobs so much. Honestly, it crossed my mind that I would not be such a pleasant worker if I were in the same position, especially if I were caring for the gentleman beside me also receiving a pedicure. My neighbor had feet three times larger than my own and was surely requiring a lot of elbow grease to feel pampered, it was also clear that his wife had brought him along for what was possibly a first-time pedicure treat. He was trying hard to relax and enjoy the pampering but you could tell the experience was truly out of his comfort zone. He was squirming in his chair and itching to be finished.
Then on Sunday, I heard a message on John 13. Remember when Jesus is washing the disciples’ feet? And, the image has stuck with me of the man next to me at the nail salon and his discomfort level. Can you see the disciples just squirming in their seats? I can. I see their excuses and their hesitations that Jesus would possibly consider washing their dirty feet. And, as they finally get comfortable and allow their precious savior to wash their feet, he turns things right upside down for them again. That moment of further discomfort is when Jesus then calls the disciples to wash one another’s feet.
You know what? He is doing it to us too. Jesus is asking us to relax and allow him to wash our feet, yes. He is also calling us to wash one another’s feet. He showed us by example. He showed us how to humble himself and serve. We are called to humble ourselves and serve in return. Now for the dirty part, the hard question, the painful splinter… whose feet are you called to wash? Whose feet are you cradling in your hands? Whose servant are you?
It may seem humbling enough to simply allow Jesus to wash our feet. But, have you tried washing dirty feet in return? Be warned, in the process we might each get dirty and it might be uncomfortable at times. I’m certain the rewards are far greater than the treat of a summer pedicure. God is calling us to notice the dirty feet around us. Where do you see them and when will you start washing? Are your feet dirty? Better yet, are your neighbor’s feet dirty? Maybe we should each grab a towel then get to work pouring the water.
If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example: just as I have done, you also must do. John 13:14-15 CEB
Prayer: Lord, allow us to humbly come before you as we not only allow you to wash our feet but as you call us to the sometimes uncomfortable duty of washing the dirty feet alongside each of us. Amen.