Thursday, January 28, 2010

When Mothers Wash Little Muddy Feet

Smiles and bounces welcomed news of a "nature walk" as Wyatt and I set out for the first time in a very wet month to search for signs of spring.

An empty cocoon. A single clover flower. Tightly-closed pink tips on silver tree limbs.

As I pulled twin-filled wagon through crunchy brown grass, I watched turquoise clogs dance in happy circles and then weave innocently into the field.

"Don't run in the mud!!!"

To his credit, Wyatt did pause, as most children would when mama suddenly unleashes a less than soft-spoken mandate in the midst of a quiet walk.

But in that split second, he chose to not retrace his steps. Instead, he decided to skip faster, maybe hoping to be like those birds whose speed gives them the ability to almost walk on water.


Water infused earth gave way, sinking shoes and blue jeans in six inches of mud.

Back at the house, muddy shoes flew across the carport as naked legs and blue Thomas undies appeared. Then I remembered the outdoor water faucet was still not repaired from the freeze earlier in the month.

Moments later, with wet cloth in hand, I knelt in the rocks before my son to wash his feet.

And the immediate image of Jesus kneeling to wash the disciples' feet flashed in my mind, making me pause.

Just yesterday, my ladies' group watched a video entitled The Biblical Dinner with Pastor Jay McCarl ($5 at Lifeway this month--well worth it), a 60-minute insight into what both Scripture and history can tell us about Jesus' last supper.
Among other things, we learned how the Jews considered feet to be the most unclean part of the body, how they lounged on their left arm at the dinner table in order to keep those filthy feet as far away from the table as possible.

According to McCarl, in Jewish society, the washing of feet was a tradition at all feasts. And if there were no servant to do the washing, then the job fell to the person at the end of the table where the foot washing pitcher and basin sat.

With Jesus sitting in the host's seat, He shouldn't have filled that role. Yet whoever sat in the foot washer's position at the last supper's table didn't fulfill his duty, perhaps thinking too highly of himself to undertake the lowly role of foot-washer.

In other words, by washing the disciples' feet, He lowered Himself below the foot washer. He truly made Himself a servant of servants.

As I sat cleaning the mud from my son's feet, God showed me something about the importance of being a mother.

I've never considered washing my children's feet a part of living as a Christian. I just figured it's something a mama does when she loves her children (and when she doesn't want her floors muddy).

But in that moment, God showed me that lovingly washing my son's feet was a way to show him how to love like Jesus loves. A perfect love of humility...of selflessness.

1 comment:

  1. I love how this story started out like a beautiful poem, and then went into a rich, historical account of Jesus servanthood. I had a dream similar to this foot-washing incident. I'll have to post it one of these days...