When I was young, we always went to church on New Year’s Eve for a “Watch Night” service, to pray out the old year and pray in the New Year. We sang gospel songs, the preacher taught us from the Bible, and exhorted us about living a sinless life.
Then we females gathered on one side of the church and the men and boys on the other and held a “foot-washing service.” We poured warm water in a white enamel dishpan, and washed each other’s feet. One person started at the end and washed the feet of the lady next to her. Then that lady knelt and washed the next person’s feet.
If you’ve never taken part in a “foot-washing” service, there is something very humbling in washing the feet of another person. I can remember as a young girl, thinking how old and crippled-looking were the feet of the older ladies. As I washed the feet of one of the little granny ladies, I realized how much I loved her and all the little granny ladies in the church.
As I washed the lady’s feet, I thought of the Last Supper when Jesus took a towel, wrapped it around his waist, and washed the feet of his disciples.
“So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:12-14 New King James Version.
Then it was my turn to have my feet washed. The person who was washing my feet was doing something for me that I felt I could and should be doing for myself. I felt unworthy to be having that done for me. I felt as though I should be washing everyone else’s feet.
The foot-washing service wasn’t really about cleaning our feet, but about humbling our hearts. It’s all in the attitude of the heart.