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Finding meaning in foot washing

From the November 2015 issue of The Christian Science Journal


Have you ever washed someone’s feet? Other than my children’s, I haven’t. For some Christians foot washing symbolizes humility and service to others. 

I first learned about washing other people’s feet in Sunday School. I didn’t attend a Christian Science Sunday School, but our lessons did consist of reading Bible stories. One Sunday we were reading John 13 and focusing on verses 4–14. This is just after Jesus shared a meal with his disciples the night before the Passover, and before he was arrested in Gethsemane and later crucified. 

In verse 4, Jesus “riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.” He then proceeded to wash the feet of his disciples. Back in the first century people wore sandals and their feet got dusty and dirty walking on the unpaved roads and streets, which is why the custom of foot washing upon entering someone’s home was practiced. While this was a custom that Jesus’ disciples were most likely aware of, the account in John is the only time recorded where Jesus performed this service himself. When he finished, Jesus told the disciples that they “ought to wash one another’s feet.”

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