Over Christmas, my sister and I were talking about the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. We were trying to come up with an accurate analogy in our modern world of the humility and service of foot washing. Gill says that washing of feet was done:
at the reception of strangers or travelers, which were just come off of a journey, whereby they had contracted dirt and filth, and was a servile work, never performed by superiors to their inferiors, but by inferiors to superiors; as by the wife to the husband, by the son to the father, and by the servant to his master; and was an instance of great humility in any others
We only came up with one example of some really humbling service in our culture, but I don’t think there really is anything to compare it to! The example was (forgive the crass example[and trust me when I say that this is about the least crass way I can think of saying it!]) cleaning someone after they’ve used the toilet. Of course, in our society, that is only done when a person is physically incapable of cleaning himself. And the person doing the service is compensated–it is not an act of service and humility.
So what do you think? Did we miss something? Who are the lowly servants of our time, those who–if they lived in first century Palestine–would be washing others’ feet?