Wash My Feet

John 13: 1 – 17

“Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

How do you know if somebody really loves you? It’s wonderful, yes, to hear them say the words, “I love you.” “I love you,” is balm for the soul.

Words on their own, however, will never draw us into the extraordinary experience of being loved. When did you last feel really loved? It is a ‘whole of self’ experience isn’t it.   It involves our feelings, our bodies, our very ‘inner most’ selves. Frankly it can be a little scary, maybe because it is so humbling to allow another person to touch us, through their loving, in such a vulnerable and profound way.

Jesus washing the feet of his disciples in John 13 is one of the most humbling, human and intimate stories in scripture. One man – revered, courageous, utterly compassionate, making a loving offering of himself in such a heartbreaking farewell. One man – demonstrating through an act of utter self-giving, the truth and reality of his love. A love like this is deeply personal, not some kind of universal goodwill. Jesus’ washing of the feet of ‘his own’ makes real their invitation into relationship, home, belonging.

Imagine somebody kneeling before you, holding your feet in his hands, washing your feet, drying your feet. How do you respond to the intimacy of such a demonstration of love? Where do you look?

Jesus charges us, “If I your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”

We know we are called to extend Jesus’ offer of love to those around us. (Even those who are difficult to love…who have betrayed us!) How do I do this?

Words are ok, and sometimes very helpful. It is, however, humble, loving, self-giving, human engagement which in some way breaks through fear and pride, at a life changing level, and opens us to the possibility that God’s love might just be real.

Who do I need to love today?



2 thoughts on “Wash My Feet

  1. Thank you Jane. This is the great challenge for the church today. How to put hands and feet to our words. As we heard last Sunday words are cheap. God is a creative God so there will be many different ways of how this will look for each one of us. I was drawn straight away to the parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25. Im sure we are all familiar with this story its even known in the world. But as we look deeper into the actions of the Samaritan we can see a great model for us to follow.
    We see at first that the religious people just looked the other way. Unfortunately this is an accurate description of many in the church of today. They had their day planned and were focused on getting to where they were going. Nothing was going to stop them. I have a friend who came to Jesus repented of her sin and wanted to be baptised. She was told that the church that she goes to only baptises once a year and that she would have to wait. She couldn’t wait because she wanted to obey. So she was baptised in a bath in another Christians home. We can’t let our “programmes” come before people.
    Now lets look at the Samaritan. He too was on a journey but the first thing we see is that he has compassion. He changed his direction and went to the injured man. We too must be open to the Spirits leading each and every day. A person, created in the image of God needing help is more important than our agenda for the day. He was prepared. He had olive oil and bandages. Our preparation can be as simple as asking God to use us today. So often we don’t even bother to ask God to use us. This is also important for our weekly gatherings that we make God to use us to bless someone that He will put in our path at Church. Give us eyes to see those who need a touch of Gods love.
    He then placed the injured man on his donkey as he walked. Our own comfort becomes of a less importance as we seek to love others. It cost him financially. Love costs. It cost God everything. Why should we thing it isn’t going to impose our finances. It does and it will. Finally he touched base next time he was in town for any follow up. Follow up is just as important as the initial act of kindness. The injured man was still in his thoughts. He was still on his prayer list.

    Today we don’t travel on dusty roads with animal poop on streets. We don’t have the same act to perform as Jesus did. The King of the universe doing the most menial task but our calling is the same. And that is to love. Not with a human love which is conditional but with Gods love- the highest love that cost God His Son. We love because He first loved us. Have you received this love?

    PS it was really hard to find this link the new web page!!!!

  2. Dear Connie. Thank you so much for these reflections and your unpacking of the Good Samaritan parable. I am particularly struck by a couple of your insights. Loving others and our own agendas. It occurs to me that washing the feet of his disciples was a slow and deliberative process, not a rush job. At a time when Jesus’ time on this earth was drawing to a close, when time was ‘running out,’ his priority was loving, in such a visceral way. The challenge is to allow love to overset our tightly packed and overcooked agendas. And thank you for the important reminder that love is costly. ‘Self giving’ is easy to write. The self giving of Jesus did not finish with this extraordinary act of humble, loving service, it went all the way to death.

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