A basin and a towel

The days were drawing to the end and Jesus knew it.  No matter how he tried to prepare those he loved most, they just didn’t grasp it.  But their inability to understand didn’t stop His persistence in preparing them.

Now, it is dinner time and as they recline at the table, Jesus is aware their feet have not been washed.  No one else notices or if they did, they said nothing.  They did nothing.

How many times have we have not seen or worse yet, seen and did nothing?

Sandals and walking make for dirty feet.  A servant in the household would normally wash the grime off the guests.  But this night there was no servant to wash – so everyone stayed dirty.

We are not much different.  We see the need but it’s not ours to own so we all stay dirty.

But Jesus…

He stepped away from the meal, took off his garments and fastened a servant’s towel around his waist and prepared the basin of water.  Then one by one He began to wash the feet of his disciples.

Did anyone notice when He stood up from the table?  Or when he prepared the basin?  Were they so intent on eating the meal and talking with each other they missed what was happening until he started to wash their feet?  Even then, no one said anything.

I wondered how many grimy feet He washed before He got to Simon Peter’s.  As the water sloshed dirty in the bowl and the servant’s towel hung wet, limp and stained from His waist, could they even begin to understand what was happening?  Their silence is deafening.

Then Simon Peter…

Leave it to this impetuous one to open his mouth and insert his foot.  He is the only one who speaks up and challenges Jesus.  Peter first wants him to stop and then he wants a head to toe bath.

You see, Peter recognized what was happening was out of the norm but his rashness couldn’t wait for Christ to finish.  He was too self-aware to see the deeper things.  It is not ignorance but rather impulsiveness from where his words are born.

He wants but he can’t wait.

Oh Lord, we know that well.


We want to know.  So much so, we often to jump to conclusions before we even understand the story.  We see the moment and filter it through lenses of past experiences.

Rose colored they are not.

We make judgements.  We all do.  Peter did.

So, when Christ lowered his knee to pick up Peter’s foot, Peter assumed a servant’s job was not for Christ to undertake.  Yet, it was…necessary.

A Lenten season is a preparation for what is to come.  The giving up’s and the whittling down’s while presently uncomfortable have holy implications.  Sacred releases of

           …what we think we want

                 …what we think we need

                      …and even, who we think we are.

This Lenten unleashing is our basin of filthy water and the damp, dirty towel.   It’s bigger than this moment even if we can’t comprehend.

We may choose our Lenten sacrifices but the more importantly, He chose us to clean.

“You do not understand what I am doing, but you will understand later on.”

John 13:7

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