In chapter 13 of the book bearing his name, John tells the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet after the institution of the eucharist. We read this chapter the other day in a small group I am in and while I tried hard to concentrate on the discussion, I found my mind wandering with a few different thoughts. They were good rabbit holes though, so I let myself wander a bit. So after washing their feet, Jesus says
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. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (vv. 12-17)
And I thought to myself, “Self? Do you understand what Jesus did for them?” I have some understanding about Jesus being a servant leader, humbling himself for the benefit of those he leads and I have some understanding about the fact that Jesus is the one who cleanses us of all unrighteousness, even the really grimy parts of our souls (like 1st century feet. Ewww.). That said, I think the picture of foot washing does not touch me as deeply as it did the disciples. So I set out on the high seas of ideas to contemplate a possible modern day parallel for foot washing.
What I came up with is bathroom cleaning. That’s right, cleaning the porcelain throne and the place you bathe. Can you imagine if Jesus showed up at your door unannounced and said,
I AM…here to clean your bathroom. Can I come in?
Now what Jesus doesn’t know (yes…he’s omniscient but just go with it or a minute) is that you just had a stomach bug. What Jesus doesn’t know is that before the stomach bug, you have been very busy and well, the housework got a little behind (no pun intended but man is that funny!). What Jesus doesn’t know is that you hate it when people see your house a mess. So you say,
Jesus! How good to see you! I am SO glad you stopped by! But please don’t worry about the bathroom! Would you come in and have some tea?
You are praying he will relent (which is funny when you bring back the omniscient piece)), but Jesus responds lovingly but without wavering,
Unless I clean your bathroom, you have no part with me.
If you’re like Peter, at this point you may ask Jesus to clean your whole house! But alas, this is where the metaphor breaks down a bit (as all metaphors do). I am thinking of trying this with someone one day. I told a friend of mine about it and she said something to the effect of “I would be traumatized.” if I did that to her. She’s on my list but now I have to wait until she forgets about it. ; )
So how about you? How would you feel if one of your friends, or even better, one of your leaders, showed up unannounced and asked you…
Can I clean YOUR bathroom?