I love my sandals! I am a "flip-flop girl" through and through! And even living here in Vermont, I've been known to wear my flip-flops until at least November! When the snow flies, I very reluctantly put them away. But I take them out again as soon in the spring as possible. I've been wearing them now for over 3 weeks, yes, even when the snow fell on April 26th!
So, one day I was up and out of the house running errands, etc, wearing my flip-flops as usual. I returned home sometime mid-afternoon and as I was sitting down looking through my mail, I became aware that my feet felt particularly dirty after all the running around I did.
I got up, went into the bathroom, wet a washcloth with hot water and washed my feet. As I was washing them, this particular passage of Scripture came to mind and as I pondered it, I began to understand it even better.
"Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!" Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished wasshing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me "Teacher" and "Lord" and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." John 13:3-17
In Old Testament times, people wore sandals and walked miles and miles on dusty road every day, so their feet got very dirty. As they visited others, there would be a basin by the door for them to wash their feet as they entered. Our feet, too, walk around in the world every day. And though we don't walk on dirty, dusty roads, we do pick up things found in the world - mind-sets, habits, attitudes, opinions, advertisements, photographs, unholy words, etc, wherever we walk and we need to be washed from these things daily
We, who are saved, have already had our "bath;" we've been washed by the blood of Jesus and we are being sanctified; we are clean. But, as Jesus said, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet...."
As I was washing my feet, I realized that as I walk in the world and because I am not of the world, I need my feet washed on a continual basis. I need the washing from the Word of God and from the interaction found with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
It is so important for me to be in the Word daily, but it is just as important for me to have fellowship with other Christians, too. We "wash" each other's feet, in the spiritual sense, if not literally. Jesus was our example and He told us that we should wash one another's feet.
As I spend time in the Word, my mind is renewed (Romans 12:1) The Word washes the ways of the world from my mind and gives me the mind of Christ. I will see things more clearly and from a spiritual perspective. This washing with the Word helps me to discern spiritual things and discern the sacred from the profane (Ezekiel 44:23, Leviticus 10:10).
As I spend time in fellowship with my brothers and sisters in the Lord, this, too, washes me from the attitudes of the world. My brothers and sisters help to ground me and bring me back to the "center." - the Lord. As I allow myself to be in accountability relationships, I give place to someone to speak into my life and help guide me gently back to the Lord and His truth when I've strayed because of time spent in the world.
Jesus, indeed, gave us an example. He said, "Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." We are truly blessed when we allow another to wash our feet and we are blessed when we are allowed to wash another's feet.
As we are told in Corinthians, we need each other. We need the body; we need all parts of the body, for when we acknowledge all parts, we become whole. Each part has a different perspective, an important perspective, that you and I need. We cannot always see which part of the body we need at any particular time, but we can trust the Lord to provide that part when we need it. So we should always be open to having our feet washed, no matter which part is provided to do the washing. We can all learn from each other.
After I washed my feet, I felt so refreshed. It was amazing how much better I felt after that simple act. And that's exactly how we feel when we minister one to another - refreshed! We are refreshed and encouraged. The one being ministered to is refreshed as well as the one who does the ministering. We are then strengthened to go back "into the world" and be salt and light as Jesus commanded.