He’d leave soon. We tried not to think of it as we followed Him, but you could tell He was between Heaven and Earth. He’d said as much. I saw in Him a kind of love-broken weariness, and it reminded me of how the poet prophet Isaiah described Him: a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.
He’d set the table, and we sat in the upper room, preparing for the feast. We were tired, and hungry, but glad to be with Jesus. The pungent scent of roasted lamb and bitter herbs rose like incense in the room. Our cups were lined like guards before us, full with wine. Night, as thick and palpable as fog, surrounded the house. The flames on the candles He lit bowed and rose in the breezy room, as if they too, worshiped Him.
He said to each of us, “Give me your feet.”
We grew silent, each of us removing our sandals.
I watch Him move across the room, dressed in the garment of a slave. Dear God, Jesus is on His knees, pouring water on our feet. The Son of God, the Son of Man, washing us as if the pitcher contained, then released His own tears, slipping between our toes, the filth of the world falling to the ground, now hallowed by His presence.
He sure knows how to make a mess of things.
I whispered to Him, “Thank you, Jesus.” Hot salty tears rolled from my cheeks, and mingled with Jesus’ hand when he reached up to wipe my face.
“What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will after this,” He said to me.
He cleansed us all, every one of us, even the one who would betray Him.
“Do you understand what I have done to you?”
His brown eyes shone in the candlelight.
“You address me as ‘Teacher’, ‘Master’, and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher washed your feet, you must now wash each others feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. 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.”
Act like it, and live a blessed life.
He makes things so simple.
It wasn’t long after that that He had gone from us, only to return, and go again, leaving us with His Spirit. And even now, as I reflect on that day, I hear the sound of His voice, resonate, yet soft, and feel His breath warm on my face, as he leaned into me and asked me, ‘give me your feet.’
I think of this every time I come across a world weary traveler, sand-scorched, hurting, and vulnerable, looking for Jesus, needing water, and trusting his sole to me, as I wash it, cradling it in the circle of my hands.
Give me your feet.
Isaiah. 53:3, NKJV.
John 13:12-17, The Message.