John 13:5, Washing Our Feet
After that [Jesus] poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
//In The Year of the Lord’s Favor, author Tom Arthur speculates that by the time John’s Gospel was written, the feast of the Lord’s Supper had already become a stale ritual, its wine probably served in sterile little glasses like many churches do today. If anyone did arrive hungry and needy, he was treated to a mere nibble. So, in John’s account, the Eucharist is replaced with a much more personal activity: washing another’s feet. Is John recommending a new ritual?
We know, of course, that John’s ritual could not work today. The meaningful event would merely be moved up in time, completed within the privacy of our own homes, as we each spend twenty minutes vigorously scrubbing our feet, then painstakingly trimming and painting our toenails before selecting the finest pair of shoes in our closet. Then we drive off to church—no dusty road in our journey! All trace of humanness and need would be rinsed away before the church washing had a chance.
So what are we to do? How can we possibly restore the original flavor of Jesus’ act of foot-washing, and should it be a part of our gathering together?