Washing Feet

1 08 2012

It was a small scrape, but you wouldn’t know it from the big tears running down her cheeks. She held tightly to her counselor’s hand as she walked into where I was working at camp. Through muffled sobs, she explained how she had been playing and ran through a rough spot in her flip-flops. Her foot hurt. Would I take a look?

Sitting her in a chair, I lifted her foot into my lap. I couldn’t see the scrape because her feet were filthy. Dirt, sweat, grass, and sand were adhered to the bottom of her little feet. I was going to have to clean through the mess in order to see what was hurting.

I got some warm water and a wash cloth. I knelt down and gently started washing the grime from her feet. I had to scrub her heels where the dirt was ground into the skin. The cloth moved between her toes as the water became muddy. Drying her feet, I was humbled by the holiness that filled the moment.

Jesus did this. He washed the dirty feet of disciples who argued about greatness before the Son of God. He does this for me. He tenderly scrubs away the residue of my playing in the world. Holy hands holding dirty feet.

The most humbling aspect of this moment, however, came from watching the little girl. She came in frightened, nervous, and tearful. Washing her feet did more than clean the dirt off of her body. It changed her heart. She relaxed. Laughter and giggles replaced tears and frowns. She talked, opening her heart and trusting me with her story. Some warm water, a Band-Aid, and a hug later, she walked away confident, joyful, and at peace. Jesus does this for me too.

My Jesus Resolution today is to look at my toes and see Jesus’ hands. He doesn’t shy away from my mess or wrinkle His nose at the stink that sticks to my skin. He washes me clean, makes me new, heals what is hurting, and does so with love and tenderness. In the washing, I am changed. My feet and my heart are connected. That is the lesson I want to remember. It is the truth embedded in Jesus’ words in John 13:14. “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”


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