washing of the desciples feet

edited April 2008 in Faith Issues
hello every1,
i have a couple questions regarding the conversation that Peter had with the Lord Jesus Christ wen He was washing the desciples feet
John 13:6-10
6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”
7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
8 Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”
10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”
-wat was Christ washing their feet from? sin?
-and y if He didnt wash his feet will he not have part in heaven? wats the symbolism?
- is there any reason in specific y it is washing the feet rather than any other part of the body besides showing Christs' humility?
-it also mentions that to be clean He only needs to wash his feet..wat is meant by this?

pls inform me of anything that needs clarification, thanx in advance

pls keep my weakness in ur prayers
-sister in Christ


  • The feet are considered the lowest portion of the body in several regards:  anatomically, functionally, and symbolically as a place where dirty things are.

    If we take into account that the streets were not paved, often muddy, or covered with animal dung and trash, one can appreciate that if you walk outside in the alleyways and streets, you would get your feet very dirty.

    In terms of Jewish custom and ritual, one would require cleansing prior to sitting for meals that would go for hands and feet.  In regard to the feet, the lowest servant would be called for to carry out the duty.  With regard to the hands, the guest would be provided with water.

    The aspect of ritual feet washing is indirectly an aspect at the Wedding of Cana of Galilee, when Our Lord asked for the six large stone jars used for ritual washing be filled and to which he made them into "good" wine.  This incidence highlights the practice of the times.

    The washing of the feet was to teach them:

    1.  humility
    2.  to cleanse themselves physically and spiritually.
    This respect is for being in proper attire for coming to the Eucharistic Table, but more importantly to undertake the aspect of Penance prior to receiving the Lord Himself.
    3.  in regard to the use of water it is in reference to Himself, as He made mention to the Samaritan Woman, that He is the "living water", and that it should 'spring forth', and that those who come to God (in baptism) must do so in 'water and Spirit'.  He is the water and He calls upon the Father to send us the Holy Spirit.
    4.  He, Himself, shows example as His care for us, not having surrogates, but that He carries out the acts of mercy and cleansing.
    5.  It was to put Simon Peter in his place, specifically, that things have to be done my way, and not your (Peter's) perception.

    Our Lord places great importance on water, and it is highlighted in the intitial Chapters of the Holy Gospel of St. John:

    Chapter 1:  the waters of the rivers of the Jordan and baptism.
    Chapter 2:  the Wedding at Cana and the changing of the water into wine.
    Chapter 3:  Our Lord's words to Nicodemus that a person needs to be born of "water and spirit".
    Chapter 4:  the incident with the Samaritan Woman at the Well of Jacob
    Chapter 5:  The curing at the pool of Bethesda
    Chapter 6:  Walking on Water; and the discourse about he who goes to Him will never thirst
    Chapter 7:  Rivers of living water
    Chapter 8:  ------
    Chapter 9:  The Man born blind and asked to wash at the Pool of Siloam
    Chapter 10:  The return across the Jordan River
    Chapter 11:  The mention of Mary anointing Our Lord and drying his feet with her hair; also the ritual of Temple purification
    Chapter 12:  The anointing of Our Lord's Feet
    Chapter 13:  The washing of the Disciples' Feet

    We then skip forward to Chapter 19, when Our Lord is crucified and water and blood come forth from His Side when He is speared.

  • I am a Baptist who practices feet washing (in light of John 13) as an act of worship.  Do Copts wash feet as an act of worship?
  • I am unsure, on a frequent basis, but on Maundy Thursday, the Priests wash the feet of the clergy and congregation, in remebrance of our Lord washing the feet of the disciples before the Lord went to Gethsemane. I am slightly unsure about what you mean as an act of worship. Do you mean that by washing someone else's feet you are doing it for Christ, by taking his example (see Mat. 25 "I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me")? But to answer your question, I don't think it is done regularly as an act of worship.
  • LOL i second the above.
    I'm laughing cause i wrote the same thing, and then "Warning - while you were typing a new reply has been posted. You may wish to review your post. " ...  LOL .
  • Schoyen,

    On a definitive basis, it is not done as a worship service.  It is within the rituals, and rubrics of the Covenant (Maundy) Thursday services.  On that day, there are the Paschal Hourly Services, the Holy Eucharist--for Coptics this is the True Body and Blood of Our Lord, and not just a remembrance meal, and prior to the Eucharistic Liturgy is the washing of the feet.  Incidently, the Eucharistic Feast of the day is also one of the Seven Minor Feast Days for Our Lord as recognized by the Coptic Church.  There are Seven Major and Seven Minor Feast Days.  Covenant Thursday, despite being in the most solemn part of Holy Week is considered a Feast Day.

    The Church of the Brethren, as they are based out of Germany, practice feet washing as a worship service.  I do not know of any of the Orthodox Churches (Byzantine or Oriental) that do so.

    I hope this is helpful.

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