Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him,
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.
After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
[John 13:1-5 NKJV]
A favourite television programme for us is BBC’s ‘Gardener’s World’. Gill is a keen and creative gardener, while I am a keen admirer both of the garden she is creating and of the gardener herself. I wish that I could say that through watching this programme, I was learning the art of gardening. Instead the gardening, the flowers and trees inspire my art, and I find myself choosing to paint gardens in watercolour more often.
In one of the episodes of this programme recently, a blind girl shared how her father had taught her how to mow the lawn by removing her shoes and feeling her way around the garden with her bare feet. It was truly enlightening to hear that story, and immediately thought of it when reading this passage from John 13.
Our feet take a lot of physical punishment; they bear the weight of the whole body and yet are every bit as sensitive and useful as our hands. My Aunt Ann always sent the family Christmas cards with images painted by foot and mouth artists — talented painters who had lost the use of their hands through accident or disability and yet could work wonders by holding a brush or palette knife in their mouth or foot.
The practice of foot-washing was a necessary service rendered to the weary traveller or pilgrim in Jesus’ day. The disciples were astonished when Jesus did this for them. They believed that this would be beneath Him and did not understand that Jesus was about His Father’s business; symbolically cleansing and purifying, so that their spiritual walk following Him would be holy and spotless. He does this still with each one who gives their heart to Him. He carefully washes away the dust and grime with living water and then uses His garment — His own covering — to refresh and restore.
Just like the blind girl and the foot and mouth artists, we can learn to unlock the purpose that God has hidden within us. We can walk anew for Him.
A HOLY WALK: Oswald Chambers on Faith
Drink deep and full of the love of God and you will not demand the impossible from earth’s loves. Then the love of wife and child, husband and friend, will grow holier and healthier and simpler and grander.
[from ‘The Love of God’]
Click on ‘Download File’ below to listen to this meditation
“He Washed Their Feet” — Michael Crawford
'Meditate on these things'
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
[Galatians 5:1 NKJV]