Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair.– Luke 7:44 NLT.
We had taken a look at the sinful woman (Luke 7) washing the feet of Jesus. The Pharisee (Jesus’ host) had failed to extend the traditional courtesy to provide water to wash Jesus’ feet. Jesus himself said, “You didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet but she has washed them with her tears.” The conversation might be seen to be about the soleof one’s feet but there is more to it. The soul of your feet is not at the base of your foot but where your heart is. In John 12 we find Mary of Bethany taking an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. In the very next chapter (John 13) we find Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. We find this event recorded by Matthew (26:14-39) and Luke (22:24-17) as well. So what was the big deal about the washing of feet? At first sight, we might say that Jesus himself had highlighted the issue when he told Simon: “You didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet . . .” You see, we walk with our feet, taking us to places. In the days of Jesus, people wore sandals. The dust and the dirt along the way would contaminate our feet. So it was about where we walk as well. It was not just about the sole of your feetbut about your soul and your feet.
Blessings about the soul rather than the sole:
If Simon were a caring host he would have offered Jesus water to wash the dust from his feet. Water cleanses and refreshes. Where the sinful woman (Luke 7) has succeeded when she washedthe feet of Jesus, the righteous PhariseeSimon has failed to even provide Jesus with water. Here’s what the prophet Isaiah tells us what the Lord has to say, “For I will pour water on the thirsty land,and streams on the dry ground;I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,and my blessing on your descendants”.– Isaiah 44:3. This is an important connection between the pouring of wateras it is compared to the pouring of God’s Spiriton your offspring,and my blessing on your descendants. My take, to wash the feet with water is about the soul of our feet. It is about our walk with the Lord. It is about the spiritual soulrather than the physical soleof our feet that needs to be washed, cleansed and refreshed!
Water, a proxy for the Spirit of God:
God’s Spirit is compared to water for it’s cleansing and purifying effect upon all who seek His righteousness. In other words, water is a proxy for us to better understand the Spirit of God. Ezekiel establishes the relationship between water and the Spirit of God with great clarity, ”I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols 26I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” – Eze 36:25-27 NIV. Jesus himself made the connection between waterand the Spiritthe pivotal issue concerning our salvation. The heart of flesh is a servant’s heart. The Pharisee Nicodemus came for an interview with Jesus. Jesus talked to him about being born again. “ . . . How can a man be born when he is old can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born . . . Jesus answered . . . Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”– John 3:4-6 KJV. Born of water is about a natural birth. But what about born of the Spirit? You see when you are washed by water you are only physically clean. But what about your inner person your spiritual being? Listen, natural water cannot clean your spirit. Only the Spirit of God can. I guess, Nicodemus must have thought that, as a Jew (a Pharisee) who keeps the laws, that itself is his ticketto heaven.
Think about your own water baptism. You are immersed in water. You witness to the fact that you rise up from the dead (from your sinful self) and emerge as a new person. The water represents the Spirit of God that has cleansed you from your sins – – washed by the blood of the Lamb as it were. Just as water cleans your body of its dirt, the Spirit washes your soul from all its dirt – the sin within us!
The sole of the soul:
Let’s get back to the bottom (the sole) of sinful woman saga. There, Jesus remarked, “You didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet but she has washed them with her tears.” In other words, the host Simon had not extended the courtesy of receiving Jesus into his house. It would have been appropriate for Simon to personally wash Jesus’ feet but he did not even get his servant to give Jesus water for his feet. The washing of the feet here represents a welcome of a guest into his house. So whose house was Jesus going to welcome the disciples to when he washed their feet? Here was what Jesus himself had said, “2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you . . . 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me . . .” – John 14:2-3 NIV. Wow, It was about the mansions in “My Father’s house” in heaven?
Take note of the time sequence when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. – John 13:1 NIV. This was clear without your having to read the whole chapter (John 13 NIV). Just read the sub-headings:
- Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
- Jesus Predicts His Betrayal
- Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
So, it was merely hours before Jesus would be brought to the cross to suffer great humility, pain and the cruelest of deaths. That was the same night Jesus was to be betrayed. Jesus knew all about it. If we were in that position we would certainly get nervous or frightened, having cold feet! But not with Jesus, even though he knew that he had to lay down his life. Remember, Jesus was in the upper roomfor the Last Supper with his disciples. 5 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. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” – John 13 NIV. The failure of Peter, his inability to grasp the great significance of what Jesus was about do – – in the washing of his feet, this was a telling moment. So Jesus had to clearly explain and it doesn’t get more serious than this,“Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Peter had still failed to accept the extreme humility. Peter must have found it truly embarrassing. Wouldn’t your response be similar to Peter’s? My take, Peter was mindful of the physical, the sole of his feet being washed. Jesus was on another dimension the spiritualand not the physical. 10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. The betrayalwas about the uncleanness of the soulnot about the dirt on the soleof our feet. Jesus then put together the significance of it all. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things you will be blessed if you do them. –John 13 NIV.
Feats of blessing:
So, do you want to be blessedthen, do them? Do what, wash their feet? Not really. It’s not about your feet. What you do is spiritually about your feat. The physical washing of feet in spiritual terms is about being a servant, aboutwelcoming guests into your home – – about your soulrather than your sole!
Here’s what Jesus himself has to say, 40“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me . . . 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”–Matt 10:40-42 NIV. ‘These little ones’in the NLT is translated ‘one of the least of my followers’. The Cambridge Bible translated it to mean young disciples who were babes in Christ. So, the washing of the feet was about being a servant; not just to the mighty but right down the ranks to “the little ones”, the young disciples or new converts or the children.
So let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good toward all—especially those who belong to the household of faith.– Gal 6:9-10 TLV.