It’s been warm here today and I’ve been in the office in my shoes and socks.
Whenever it’s warm the part of me that feels it the most are my feet. Sometimes they sometimes feel like they are on fire.
My feet feel particularly fiery when I’ve been standing for a while. So this evening after a period of standing I made my way outside, kicked off my sandals and enjoyed the lush cool dampness of the lawn at the back of our house.
In the cartoons there are times when people get set on fire that they run off to the nearest water bucket, sit inside and steam.
As I wandered around the garden this evening my feet felt the same way, like they were steaming as they cooled. But it wasn’t just my feet that was cooled, my whole body felt refreshed by the experience.
There is something about the temperature and texture of a damp lawn that is better than anything else for cooling tired feet. It’s almost like it was designed for that purpose.
It was lovely.
The Bible tells of a couple of events where Jesus had his feet washed, and one where he washed everyone else’s feet.
I’m sure that it felt just as lovely, but much more significant because of the meaning of what was happening:
Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.
Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, "Master, you wash my feet?"
Jesus answered, "You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later."
Peter persisted, "You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!"
Jesus said, "If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing."
"Master!" said Peter. "Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!"
Jesus said, "If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you’re clean. But not every one of you." (He knew who was betraying him. That’s why he said, "Not every one of you.") After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.
Then he said, "Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.