Throughout this chapter, and through the tears of grief and of celebration that often accompany the telling of events leading up to and following Christ’s death, I found myself asking God a most unexpected question.
“Lord, do I really have to tell people I have toe fungus?”
I must have asked about five times before my response to His prompting changed. Instead of continuing to ask if this cup could pass, I finally replied, “Okay then.”
We enter the woman’s house to find her kneeling at the feet of her guests “washing away the dust of the day” and wiping each one dry. Instantly, we’re reminded of Jesus, unlike the unsuspecting merchant joining their small gathering, still wondering if the stories he’s heard are true.
I’d like to say I’m a total stranger to the shock he feels when he realizes his hostess is offering to wash his feet. I’m not. I’ve been there, and I was taken aback much the same.
Having spent the weekend with 25 women in love with their Savior, women real and vulnerable and strong in Christ, I was filled to overflowing. What had taken place during that time together must have been quite like those early church days. Coming together in love, we expected God to meet us there and our hope did not disappoint. On our final evening together, the ministry leaders asked us to allow them to wash our feet—“offered” just isn’t word enough. This was an offering. An offering of service and of humbling themselves before the Lord, but also it was a chance to share an experience with Jesus.
Much like the Communion we shared, this was something done alongside Jesus as if all moments in time parallel in the light of Eternity.
Through tears and the beautiful echoing of hymns sung by hearts freshly broken and ever-mending, women made their way to the dimly lit washing station. I did not. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t dare.
A dear friend took me by the hand and walked me over, offering to wash my feet herself. The overflow of my heart making its way down my cheeks, I laughed as I told her my fungal little secret. She didn’t flinch. I didn’t budge.
The merchant, though, “He steps forward hesitantly, sits down on a stool and removes his sandals. As she pours water over his feet and gently washes them, he feels deeply uncomfortable.” Not so uncomfortable that he walks away, just uncomfortable enough to ask why.
The night continues with a story that answers.
Jesus did, so do I.
Jesus was burdened, so am I.
Jesus was tempted and still chose God, so will I.
As His death washes away the filth, even from the nastiest of souls, we’re bound to feel deeply uncomfortable. We’re bound to pray for cups to pass as we serve in His name and grow in His likeness. We’ll face certain humiliation and the inevitability of our mortality. However, we’ll never suffer the full payment of our sin—death, because Jesus did. Because Jesus died.
If we don’t let our filth and our fungus and our fear of the unknown keep us away, He’ll tell us why, anew every day.