Washing Feet

homeless feet“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.” John 13: 5

What does ‘foot washing’ mean to you? For me it brings childhood memories of basins of water spread out between benches in our Mennonite church sanctuary. I can picture women, with stockings removed, sprinkling warm water over the foot of another and wiping it with a towel. These feet were never dirty of course, and certainly did not ‘need’ washing. But the feet that Jesus washed were not at all clean. Neither are the feet of most of those who live on the streets of America’s cities.

In college, we practiced foot washing in our students’ fellowship, but in a more informal way. Each person could choose someone with whom to wash feet and pray for. I even remember once having that exchange with a good friend (someone by the name of Omondi) :>)

Maybe ‘foot washing’ does not carry a literal memory for you, but rather the well-known symbolic connotation of service to others.

We were privileged to spend last week with our son Michael and the LA Catholic Worker community. After serving meals to those less privileged for several days, as LACW does regularly, Friday brought a different expression of Christ’s love. On Fridays, Michael washes the feet of those who live in the streets. Yes, literally. Equipped with not only the iconic basin and towel, but also with clippers, brushes, nail files, creams and lotions, he gently and skillfully handles these precious people and their calloused feet. The work involves not only cleaning and trimming, but also removing ingrown toenails and corns, and foot massages.

Sitting nearby, I identified myself as Michael’s mother to one man he was serving. “Really? You are his Mother? Ooh, you should be very proud of your son. He is a very good doctor! He takes such good care of me. He knows exactly how to do this job. I trust him, even when it hurts.”

Foot washing means something very different to me now. And you?



About Omondis In Kenya

Ibrahim and Diane Omondi serve on the DOVE Christian Fellowship International Apostolic Council, giving oversight to the region of Africa. They have been ministering together in Kenya since 1984 and now oversee the work of more than 100 congregations in four nations. They also give leadership to the missions thrust of DOVE Africa which includes 14 Kenyan and Ugandan missionaries serving among unreached people groups in these nations. The Omondis direct Springs of Africa, a non-profit organization sponsoring micro-finance, community development and various education initiatives.
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3 Responses to Washing Feet

  1. Deborah Cressman says:

    To me I had learned this practice in the Mennonite church where we went as a baby Christians in the early 90’s. It seemed at the time to be more a habit, a “religious” practice we just did. Then we were sent to one of their church plants to help raise up a worship team. During that 3yr time we did foot washing once. I ended up being paired with the pastor’s wife. To me I immediately felt very humbled and “unworthy” to wash her feet but then an amazing thing happened. I felt a strong presence of the Lord as I started to wash her feet. This love and admiration and great respect I had for her and serving her just came rushing to the surface. I felt it was such an honor to wash her feet. I could literally feel His love for her through me. I started to cry. We both felt His presence and I remember both of us just staying quiet in that moment. It still brings tears to me even now all these years later. I don’t know if I can explain what God revealed to me deep in my spirit in those moments but I know it changed me about foot washing forever. On the surface it may look like one thing but in God’s eyes it is something very precious and powerful.
    Thank you for sharing your experience with Michael. That is definitely an awesome way to take God into our communities. Foot care is so needed for so many reasons. I never thought of combining foot washing and foot care like that…taking it to the next level!!!

  2. Ann says:

    For me feet washing was something we did to our little brothers and sisters because they were too sleepy to do it and their feet were so dirty after being out in the field bear feet with all the dirt. it felt good when some one washed your feet. you felt cared for. you should come and wash my feet. plan for feet washing and i will be glad to wash yours though not as Michael.

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