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Discovery Magazine 8/1/2002

Who Wants to Wash Feet?

by  Charles McCown, M.S.

Have you ever noticed how dirt seems to get everywhere? When you play outside for a long time, it even gets in your shoes and socks. Now imagine walking around in sandals all day without socks. Your feet get all sweaty and the moisture combines with the dirt so that it cakes onto your feet. Yuck! What would your mom say if you tried to come inside the house with feet that dirty? I still can hear my mom -like it was yesterday-saying, "Go back outside and wash your feet with the hose!"

Did you know that when Jesus was living on this Earth, every­ one's feet were like that? They didn't have cars or trucks. And even if you owned a donkey, you probably would ride it only to go from town to town. Jesus and His disciples walked every­ where in sandals. As you can imagine, their feet were filthy. Luckily, they had a method similar to our hose for cleaning their feet before walking around in a house. Immediately after you entered someone's home, a servant would wash your feet from a basin (kind of like a large mixing bowl filled with water).

In John 13, we read how Jesus and His disciples were reclined around a table eating the Passover meal. Apparently, this time there had been no servant to wash everyone's feet. And the disciples were too proud to take on this role. Christ realized this, rose, removed His outer clothing, put a towel around His waist, and began washing their feet and drying them with the towel. Do you remember what happened when He came to Peter? Peter tried to refuse, but Jesus said, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." He went on to tell them that they also should wash others' feet. Does that mean that we should be washing each other's feet today? Yes and no.

Jesus wanted to teach His disciples humility, which is the act of putting aside pride for the benefit of others. We can "wash feet" by ignoring our own interests to help someone else. Christ's example also teaches us that we don't do things to receive praise, but to give honor to others. Try to think of something nice to do for someone else, and then do it. If your brother or sister is sick, you could do their chores without being asked. If you notice an elderly person drop something, pick it up and hand it to them. There are so many ways you can be a servant-just like Christ.

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