When I lived on the South Coast  I was less than 200m from the sea shore, but could not see the ocean nor the beach from my house. If I lived further up the hill I  would have had a sea view but I didn’t. I constant reminder of how some distance brings perspective.

But I could hear the ocean. Some days the roaring waves were particularly loud and I could imagine the waves pounding on the shore reshaping the landscape as it does. I am always amazed how different the beach looks, every day. How the waves move those millions of tonnes  of sand seemingly effortlessly. It’s the same beach the same waves the same sand and yet it appears different every day. For me it provides a new meaning to the well- known phrase, God is the same yesterday today and always. I think God is a little bit like the beach, different every day yet the same. Timeless and yet always in motion.

When you come off the beach (or when you come off the dusty streets) you need your feet washed.  At the beach they usually have showers of fresh water to wash the salt and sand from your feet – In Jesus days running water was not a thing and an Earthenware bowl would be filled and stand in the corner.  We meet Jesus and foot washing first in Cana…

Jesus first miracle took place in Cana of Galilee

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.  And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.  (John 2: 6-8) You remember the outcome….

In this act he showed that his blood would be the true wine that would bring about sanctification and forgiveness and it was good, Jesus showing that the law of Moses was for forgiveness of sins but that he was better.

Jesus is the master of the banquet and the servant who drew the water.. And washed his servants feet. Turning a foot washing into an act of cleansing love..

Water is a symbol of death and life and Baptism is dying so that rebirth can take place.  Water is an amazing substance full of mystery.

Jesus had said I will give you “living water” (John 4:10) water is a powerful image of the Holy Spirit. Throughout scripture the power of water, to heal (2 Kings 5 – the healing of Naaman), to reorder                             (Genesis 7 – Noah’s Ark) to give life (John 4 – Woman at the well) to signify death (John 19:34 “But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.”)

Water is a constant theme used to describe the activity of God.

It is a symbol of power, of majesty, and transformation.

But in John Chapter 13, at the Last Supper, water is the great symbol of humility. It washes feet!

Note that Jesus did not anoint his disciples feet with oil, he washed them with water. The Living Water being poured out over the feet of His disciples.

 If ever Jesus’s word about the first being the last (Matthew 20:16), or anything to do with humility was portrayed in nature, it is in water.

Water is the most important commodity on earth. I don’t know if you have every thought about the fact that the water on earth is the same water that was on earth in the beginning.

71 % of the surface of the earth is covered with water. 97 % of that is sea water and the Ice caps contain 2% leaving 1 % in rivers and lakes. Just to give you some perspective. The Zambezi river has more water than all the surface water in the whole of SA… 

Water is the unique thing that gives us life. Water refreshes and hyrdrates us and there is nothing that tastes as good as the waters of a high mountain stream.  And yet is washes the filth -from our bodies from our streets from our fields and roads and from our feet.

When coming in from the dusty streets of a day’s living, there are two things that we look forward to. A refreshing drink, and washing the dirt off our feet. Strange that we use the same substance to do both – rehydrate our cells from the inside, and rejuvenate our skin from the outside.

At the Passover meal we recall the humility of Jesus – The living water washing the feet of His disciples. The imagery cannot be overstated – Jesus  – washing feet with himself – the man who turned water into wine  (John 2: 1-2 and vs 6 was foot washing water remember) doing it again, changing water into a healing, hoping, saving, new wine. And now I will show you the most excellent way says St Paul – the way of Love -St John says and now Jesus showed them the full extent of his love –

“Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end.”

(John 13:1)

With an act of Humility

“Jesus knew that the Father had delivered all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was returning to God.  So He got up from the supper, laid aside His outer garments, and wrapped a towel around His waist” (John 13:1-4)

John 13:5 “After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel that was around Him.”

Taking the most precious substance on earth, and yet the substance most taken for granted – and wiping the feet of his disciples.  

I am struck every time I think about it:  of how Peter watched Jesus coming around the table – the only one aware of what was going on. 

Davinci’s picture that you see every time you come to this building confuses this scene –

They would have sat on the floor on cushions in a U shape reclining in their left elbow – with a low table with the food on from which they would have reached over and taken handfuls.

Feet tucked behind them…. 

A servant was not looked at and because the feet were washed from behind the individual person having their feet washed wouldn’t know who was doing it. But Peter could see the Son of God, the Messiah, pouring himself out over the feet of those whom he loved, washing Judas’s feet too!

What a symbol of Humility –

And power “anyone who drinks the water I shall give will never be thirsty again.” (John 4:14)   –                                      the water that I shall give will turn into a spring inside them welling up to eternal life.

Humility and power. We see it in the drizzle and in the thunderstorm and in the waves and in the trickle of a mountain stream, God showing the fullness of his love. Washing and weeping! Water is everlasting, constant and yet changing form and expressing itself in different seasons,  shaping the earth and yet taking shape from the earth. Contained in a glass yet so powerful that it cannot be contained.

Today as we stand in the wilderness of this life, may we seek the Rock which is Christ. The rock that delivers living water in the wilderness.

May He provide this living water in us and fill us with humility and power, the power to submit. The words to Jeremiah remind me of water, as water has all these qualities:

Jer_1:10  See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

Mists and Hurricanes – and bowls of water to wash feet..

My dear brothers and sisters as we journey with Christ to the cross this Holy week may we receive the water that he gives.  In the desert you get water that is left in rain events that soon gets stale and you get living water that has a source…

As he appears in humility and power. May the Holy Spirit dwell in you and make you like a gushing stream flowing from the temple of God into all the world to flood, and to nurture, and to bring the love of God into every place that you go into.  You have a source and his name is Christ when you drink from him you will never thirst..

From the cross Jesus Cried I thirst – this Easter may you thirst for living water, salvation and sanctification – that love and forgiveness and joy may flow out from you.

You repented for that purpose – you choose to follow Jesus on the path, the path of forgiveness, and obedience, therefore: 

With our feet washed and ready to proclaim the Gospel of Christ,

With a servant heart – a heart like Jesus’.  He who wants to be great must be a servant of all, because Jesus has a servant heart.

It is time to wash the wilderness off your feet and rise and go with Jesus to the cross and beyond!

Author: admin

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