12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
When I read this scripture I tend to I think about my marriage. Jesus says, "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet you also should wash one another's feet."
I suck at washing my wife's feet.
It's hard, and I don't think about what that means very often. It means that I get to serve her. I get to serve her as a response to my faith and as a response to the covenant I've made to her. Not only to I get to serve her, but I get to do it at the lowest part of her humanity.... ugh. That means no excuses, that means no matter what else is going on and how I want to rationalize everything else I still get to serve her. Because serving her means serving God. In this scripture we see Jesus - who at this point knows he is from God and returning to God - model this behavior for us. Jesus takes the people he loves the most, the people who would follow him to the grave, and he serves them. He serves them in a way that is humbling, intimate, and incredibly heart felt.
Why wouldn't I want to do that for the woman I love the most?
Now, this leads me to the hard part for me (and I would suspect for most of us). I get to let her serve me too. If I call myself a disciple, then I must become vulnerable enough to let the person I love wash my feet. To see the dirtiest parts of who I am and where I've been. For me this looks like open and honest communication. Sharing the most intimate conversations possible and exposing the parts of myself I'm incredibly embarrassed to show anyone else. Letting her wash my feet means showing her the dirt and letting her love me anyway.
I do have hope though. The very last line in this passage says, "Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
If I truly want to change the dynamic in my marriage, in my faith, and in my life then I have to wash the feet of the people I care most about. Then, when I think I can't give anymore I have to let them wash my feet. Giving them the opportunity to love me as much as I love them.
The blessing comes in the vulnerability.
This Valentine's Day I want to commit to the vulnerability of what it means to wash each other's feet.
How can you wash your spouse's feet? What does that look like in your marriage? I'd like to challenge you to write it down and share it with the person. More than anything else this year give the gift of vulnerability.