The Ancient Faith
FOOTWASHING – WORSHIP OR HOSPITALITY?
Foot washing as used in this work refers to the practice of one person washing the feet of another. This practice is very ancient, dating at least to the time of Abraham and probably earlier. On one occasion, Abraham told some visitors, who unknown to him were angels, “Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree” (Gen 18:4). Unaware that they were angels, Lot on another occasion told two visitors, “Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways” (Gen 19:2). Undoubtedly such events are what the writer of Hebrews had in mind when he wrote, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb.13:2).
It is clear from the two passages in Genesis that foot washing was simply a part of hospitality. Along with providing shelter from the elements, food, water, and rest, foot washing was a practical element of Middle Eastern hospitality. The Encyclopedia Americana says, “Originally, foot washing was an act of practical hospitality performed for guests entering homes in the ancient Middle East.”’ There was nothing any more special about foot washing than offering a stranger a drink of water.
Manners and Customs of Bible Lands gives the following description of Middle Eastern hospitality.
After bowing, greeting, and kissing, the Eastern guest is offered water for washing his feet. Wearing of sandals would naturally necessitate foot washing, but it is often done when shoes have been worn. A servant will assist the guest by pouring the water upon his feet over a copper basin, rubbing the feet with his hands, and wiping them with a napkin.”
As one would expect, the task of washing feet was normally performed by servants. Undoubtedly, the feet of those who walked ancient roads and streets were often filthy with dust, mud, or even animal waste. It was considered a lowly task to perform the service of foot washing. Speaking of Abigail, 1 Samuel 25:41 says, “And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, ‘Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord’.” This was undoubtedly a request designed to prove and demonstrate her humility and respect for David and his servants.
From these Biblical references and historical quotations, it is clear that foot washing was not a religious act. It was an act of practical hospitality which served a very basic purpose. Since it was by its nature an humbling act, the offer to wash another’s feet was also used to express and to demonstrate humility and respect for others.
“RELIGIOUS” FOOT WASHING
A practical act and a religious ceremony are distinctly different in place, in form, in frequency and in purpose. For example, a bath is a practical act, the purpose of which is to clean the body, while Baptism is a religious ceremony which incorporates symbolic death, burial, and resurrection. One has a completely practical purpose while the other has a completely spiritual purpose. Peter makes this distinction clear when he writes, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (I Pet 3:21). Although Baptism and a bath both involve going into the water, they are different in form. For example, one might take a bath and not be completely immersed. A bath might incorporate sprinkling or pouring of water over the body. By contrast, scriptural Baptism can only be immersion. A bath and Baptism are obviously very different in place. A bath takes place in total privacy while Baptism is administered by another usually before many witnesses. The frequency of Baptism is defined by Eph.4:5 “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Baptism is only administered once. A bath is an on-going process that one must*administer to himself very often. Clearly, Baptism and a bath are very different in terms of frequency.
Another example would be a common meal and the Lord’s Supper. A common meal is a practical act while the Lord’s Supper is a religious ceremony, an item of Christian Worship. A common meal is eaten for the purpose of nourishing the body and within reason, any amount desired can be eaten. The Lord’s Supper, by contrast, is observed only for the purpose of remembering the Lord’s Death and is not designed to satisfy hunger. Only a small amount of bread is eaten and only a small amount of the fruit of the vine is drunk. The form of the Lord’s Supper is , defined by the Biblical Pattern. One loaf of unleavened bread and one cup containing unfermented grape juice are the only acceptable elements permitted in the Lord’s Supper. The form of a common meal is not defined by the Scriptures. Any type of food may be eaten with the exception of blood, or food offered to idols (I Tim 4:4, Acts 15:29). Paul points out that a common meal and the Lord’s Supper are different in terms of place. He writes, “Have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?” (I Cor 11:22). By contrast, the Lord’s Supper is to take place in the congregational assembly. It is unscriptural for the Lord’s Supper to be eaten in private in one’s home and it is unscriptural to eat a common meal in the worship assembly. The frequency of the Lord’s Supper is defined by Acts 20:7, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread…” Every week has a First Day and so the Lord’s Supper should be observed on the First Day of every week. This is confirmed by 1 Cor 16:1&2, Heb 10:25, and other passages as well as the writing of early Christians. A common meal, however, is eaten several times every day depending upon custom and circumstance. It does not matter how often a common meal is eaten. The frequency is unimportant.
The Scriptures teach that a New Testament ceremony or religious act must not be intermingled with a practical act or a non-religious act. The congregation at Corinth had intermingled a common meal with the Lord’s Supper. In their church assembly they were eating a common meal and regarding it as the Lord’s Supper. In 1 Cor.11:17-22 Paul sharply rebukes this practice. He says, “When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat” (verse 20 NIV). By intermingling the Lord’s Supper with a common meal, they completely destroyed the ceremony of the Lord’s Supper. The act that resulted was not acceptable as either a common meal or the Lord’s Supper.
Clearly then, religious acts or New Testament ceremonies are distinct from ordinary acts and must be kept separate and apart from them. When the two are mingled, the religious act is desecrated and destroyed.
The practical act of foot washing is certainly acceptable today as it was in Biblical times. More than that, when it is required and in those places where it is a cultural requirement, a Christian would be expected to offer this act of kindness and hospitality.
“Religious foot washing,” that is, foot washing which is regarded as constituting a religious ceremony would have to be as different from practical foot washing as the Lord’s Supper is from a common meal or as Baptism is from an ordinary bath. Those who practice “religious foot washing” are unable to show how “religious foot washing” is completely different from ordinary foot washing. In this fact lies a great deal of evidence proving that “religious foot washing” is a human doctrine and is not a part of the New Testament Pattern.
FOOT WASHING IS NOT AN ACT OF WORSHIP
In the case of foot washing, all four of the distinguishing marks of a religious ceremony or act of worship, namely, place, form, frequency, and purpose, are missing. Within itself, this proves that “religious foot washing” is not a part of the Divine Pattern for New Testament Worship. It is unnecessary to remind the careful Bible student that anything which is not part of the Divine Pattern is a doctrine of men.
- The PLACE for “religious foot washing” is not Biblically defined.
- The FORM of “religious foot washing” is not Biblically defined.
- The FREQUENCY of “religious foot washing” is not Biblically defined.
- The PURPOSE of “religious foot washing” is not Biblically defined.
PLACE NOT DEFINED
As will be demonstrated later, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet in private. We find no example of “religious foot washing” being practiced in any of the early church assemblies. While there are clear references to the five items of worship, there is no reference, either direct or indirect, to “religious foot washing.” If foot washing is to be practiced as an act of worship or as a religious ceremony, where is it to be practiced? Should it be done in the public assembly? Should it be done in a private home? None of these questions can be answered because “religious foot washing” is not a part of New Testament Christianity. If it were found in the Divine Pattern, these questions could be easily answered.
FORM NOT DEFINED
The form of foot washing is not defined in the Scriptures. For example, who should perform the foot washing? Should one man be appointed to wash the feet of the others? If so, who should that person be? Or, should every member wash feet? Whose feet should be washed? Some denominations wash the feet of only twelve persons. On the other hand, should every person wash every other person’s feet? Some might argue that only one man should wash the feet of the others since only Jesus washed feet that night. Yet, Jesus told all of them to follow his example.
If every person must wash every other person’s feet the task becomes enormous in magnitude as the size of the congregation increases. A congregation of 25 would involve 600 washings, a congregation of 100 would involve 9900 washings and a congregation of 200 would involve 39800 washings! If only one half pint of water were consumed per washing, a congregation of 200 would require approximately 2500 gallons of water just for a single observance of congregational foot washing! Surely, if the Lord had commanded congregational foot washing then some way to carry out this command would have to be found, even in arid countries where water is scarce. The point is, however, foot washing was never given as a religious act, ceremony, or item of worship.
To take this further, if “religious foot washing” is to be performed by every member and it is to be done in the assembly, then the women must be silent. How could such an enormous task be carried out with all the women forbidden to speak? Suppose a congregation has a membership of 100 men and 100 women. In any one foot washing the women must perform 19900 washings Without saying a word.
The Church of the Brethren take the position that men should only wash the feet of men and women should only wash the feet of women. An article by Mr. Daniel W. Kurtz of the Church of the Brethren found reproduced in the ISBE says, “Before the supper is eaten all the communicants wash one another’s feet; the brethren by themselves, and likewise the sisters by themselves.” Clearly, this denomination is at a loss for Biblical authority to segregate men from women in foot washing. There is no Biblical precedent for such segregation. A woman washed Jesus’ feet (Lk 7:38). A “widow indeed” is to have washed the “saints’ feet” (I Tim 5:10). Who can successfully prove this refers only to the feet of Christian sisters?
Another illustration of the quandary of the form of “religious foot washing” is found in Mr. Kurtz’ article.
In earlier years the “Double Mode” was practiced, where one person would wash the feet of several persons and another would follow after and wipe them. At present the “Single Mode” is almost universal, wherein each communicant washes and wipes the feet of another. Hence each one washes and wipes the feet of another, and in turn has this same service performed to himself.
By what authority can the so-called “Double Mode” or “Single Mode” be proven? If the form of “religious foot washing” had been set forth in the Divine Pattern, there would be no room for confusion. As it is, those who practice “religious foot washing” do so in a manner dictated by human opinion.
Obviously none of these questions can be Biblically answered because the form of “religious foot washing” is not defined by command, statement, example, or necessary inference in the Scriptures. Clearly, Jesus’ command to practice foot washing refers to a practical act of hospitality, not to a religious ceremony.
FREQUENCY NOT DEFINED
When should “religious foot washing” be observed? On what day should it be observed and how frequently should it be observed? Should it be observed once a year or once a week? Should it be observed on the Lord’s Day or on some other day of the week? If it should be observed once a year, what should the date of observance be?
In his article, Mr. Kurtz says,
Feet-washing is always practiced in connection with the Agape and Eucharist. This entire service is usually called “Love Feast.”…Each church or congregation is supposed to hold one or two Love Feasts annually. No specified time of the year is set for these services.
It is clear from this quotation that the frequency of “religious foot washing” is never specified in the Scriptures. The requirement that foot washing be observed once or twice annually is clearly human opinion. At least the Church of the Brethren admits that no time is set for the observance. Within itself, this proves that foot washing is not an act of worship nor a Divinely commanded ceremony. Under both the Old and New Covenants, the Lord has always specified the frequency for observance of religious acts and items of worship. It is impossible to imagine the Lord telling the Israelites “observe the Passover once or twice a year but I will not tell you when to observe it.”
PURPOSE NOT DEFINED
The fact that the purpose of a religious act or item of worship is completely separate from any direct and practical purpose is easily illustrated with baptism and the Lord’s Supper. When the Ethiopian treasurer said, “what doth hinder me to be baptized?,” Philip did not say, “If you are in need of a bath then you may.” What an absurd and out of place answer that would have been. Baptism has nothing to do with whether one’s body is physically clean or dirty.
When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, He did not say, “Take, eat if you are hungry.” Absolutely not. Partaking of the Lord’s Supper is completely unrelated to physical hunger or thirst.
Yet, when one examines John 13:6-11, it becomes clear that the purpose of the foot washing which took place on that occasion was not unrelated to physical cleanliness. Peter objected to Jesus’ washing his feet. Jesus warned that if He were not permitted to do so, Peter would have no part of Him. Peter then went “overboard” requesting that Jesus wash not only his feet but also his hands and his head. Jesus refused to do so on the premise of physical cleanliness. He said, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet: his whole body is clean” (John 13:10 NIV). Peter had a bath prior to traveling to the place where Jesus and his disciples were spending the evening. Due to walking down the dirty streets, his feet were dirty and needed to be washed. The rest of his body did not need to be washed. Therefore, Jesus refused to wash his “hands and head.” Notice that Jesus said “needs only to wash his feet.” What created the need for the feet to be washed? What was responsible for the rest of the body not needing to be washed? The answer in both cases is the state of physical cleanliness. Peter’s hands and head were clean from his recent bath and, therefore, did not need to be washed. By contrast, Peter’s feet were dirty from his walk through the dirty streets and roads. This is why his feet needed to be washed.
There is no common ground between an act of spiritual symbolism and a practical act to fulfil a physical need. It is contrary to the tenor of the Scriptures and all logic to hold that an act should be performed for a spiritual reason in one case and the same act not performed for a physical reason in another case. Perhaps this could be illustrated as follows. Prior to worship on Lord’s Day morning, a certain man is baptized but his wife is not. Just before services begin, the preacher explains to the man that he must partake of the Lord’s Supper to remember Christ’s death. The man replies, “Let my wife partake also.” It would be absurd and ridiculous for the preacher to reply, “As a Christian you must partake to spiritually remember the Lord’s death but your wife cannot partake because she ate too much for breakfast.” This reply is irrational because it couples an act of worship with a practical act of human activity. It is illogical to say the man must partake to fulfil a spiritual purpose and the woman may not partake because of a physical condition. The only possible reply to the man would be, “As a Christian you must partake to spiritually remember the Lord’s death but your wife cannot partake because she is not a Christian.” An answer such as this is perfectly logical.
Those who practice “religious foot washing” in effect accuse Jesus of being guilty of just such an irrational reply to Peter. Their doctrine forces Jesus to say, “Peter, I must wash your feet as an act of spiritual symbolism but I will not wash your hands and head because you had a bath.” This interpretation perverts the Lord’s words into that which is absurd. Had Jesus been instituting a religious ceremony or act of worship, His reply could only have been something to this effect, “I must wash your feet to symbolize servitude but I will not wash your hands and head because such is not a part of this spiritual observance.
Notice that Jesus did not appeal to spiritual reasons for not washing Peter’s hands and head but to physical reasons. The only sound conclusion therefore, is that the reason for washing the disciples’ feet was not spiritual but physical. Jesus was teaching, “When your brother’s feet need to be washed, wash them even if you are considered greater than he is.” Jesus was not instituting an act of worship or a religious ceremony but giving an example of practical hospitality. He could have done the same by serving the disciples a meal or providing some other item of practical hospitality.
Those who practice “religious foot washing” are all too aware of the fact that Jesus refused to wash Peter’s hands and head because he had recently bathed. In an attempt to divorce Jesus’ foot washing from a practical act designed to satisfy a physical need, Mr. Kurtz writes,
It cannot be explained as necessity or custom, i.e., that the dust must be washed from the feet of the disciples before proceeding with the supper. It was so cold that Peter had to warm himself, and this is sufficient evidence that they wore shoes instead of sandals at this time.
Mr. Kurtz’ conclusions based upon Peter’s warming himself by the fire in the middle of the night are unwarranted. It is not unusual in many places for it to be quite cold at night and yet people walk barefoot during the day. The author has personally observed this many times in rural areas in certain parts of Africa.
In regard to foot washing in Palestine, Mr. H.L.E. Luering writes,
The absence of socks or stockings, the use of sandals and low shoes rather than boots and, to an even greater degree, the frequent habit of walking barefoot make it necessary to wash the feet repeatedly every day.”
Even if the disciples had been wearing shoes as Mr. Kurtz contends, this would not have eliminated the need for foot washing. The type of footwear and the conditions of the roads and streets made foot washing a necessity for those living in Palestine.
As has been shown, baptism has nothing to do with the state of one’s physical cleanliness. The Lord’s Supper is in no way related to whether one is hungry or full. By contrast, Christ explained to Peter that He was washing the disciples’ feet because they needed to be washed. They needed to be washed because they were physically dirty.
FOOT WASHING CANNOT BE TIED TO THE LORD’S SUPPER
In many cases, those who practice “religious foot washing” tie foot washing to the “coat tail” of the Lord’s Supper. Clearly, the purpose is to place foot washing alongside the Lord’s Supper as an act of Christian worship.
The main basis for tying foot washing to the Lord’s Supper is apparently the common belief that both took place on the night of the Passover in the rented upper room. The scriptures reveal that the foot washing of John 13 did not take place on the Passover night but rather, in the house of Simon the father of Judas Iscariot. However, if it could be proven that Christ’s washing of the disciples’ feet took place on the Passover night, this would not tie or couple it to the Lord’s Supper any more than it would tie the upper room or the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan (the day the Passover lamb was killed) to the Lord’s Supper.
Most commentators fail to examine the facts and dogmatically state, as though it were universally accepted, that Jesus washed the disciples’ feet on the Passover night. A careful study reveals at least five facts which demonstrate that the foot washing of John 13 took place two days before the Passover at the house of Simon the Leper.
“BEFORE THE FEAST”
One of the most obvious proofs is found in John 13:1-2 which says, “Now before the feast of the Passover…And supper being ended…” It cannot be argued this refers to something which occurred a few minutes before the Passover meal was eaten. Rather, this meal was eaten and finished “before the feast of the Passover.” The Lord’s Supper was instituted while they were eating the Passover meal. The foot washing of John 13 took place “before the feast of the Passover.”
SATAN ENTERED JUDAS
Verse 27 of John 13 says that when Jesus gave Judas the sop “Satan entered into him.” It is unknown as to exactly how Satan was able to enter Judas. Whatever the mechanism, apparently upon being so directly confronted by the Lord, Judas dropped all resistance to Satan and allowed himself to come under the Devil’s direct control.
Luke 22:2 indicates that before the Passover the chief priests and other Jewish officials had gathered to discuss ways to capture and execute Jesus. Verses 3 & 4 say, “Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests, and captains, how he might betray him unto them.”
There is no reason to believe that John 13:27 and Luke 22:3 refer to two different events. When Satan entered him, Judas went directly to the Jewish leaders and arranged for the betrayal. It might be argued that Satan entered Judas on different occasions. Although this may be possible, there is no evidence to support this idea.
“BUY PROVISIONS FOR THE FEAST”
Perhaps the strongest proof that the foot washing of John 13 took place before the Passover is found in John 13:29, “For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast…” When Judas left the gathering, the other disciples had no idea where he was going. Some of them thought that since he was the group’s treasurer, the Lord had sent him out to buy supplies for the Passover. Since the Passover lasted a week, it might be supposed this means supplies for the days following the killing of the Passover lamb. This cannot be the case. Every Jewish family was commanded to observe the Passover. No shops would have been open nor any merchants doing business on the night the Passover Lamb was killed and eaten. Had the supper of John 13 been the Passover supper no disciple would have thought Judas had gone out grocery shopping. Such would have been illogical.
Clearly, the events of John 13 took place some days before the Passover. Undoubtedly, the merchants were busy to late at night selling supplies needed for the Passover meal. It was only natural that some of the disciples would conclude that Judas had been sent out to purchase provisions for the Passover supper.
JUDAS WAS SIMON’S SON
Matthew and Mark indicate that the evening the Jewish leaders held their meeting to discuss ways to trap and execute Him, the Lord was dining in Bethany at the house of Simon the Leper. Luke confirms this by indicating that at the time Satan entered Judas the Jewish leaders were gathered in consultation. Itis also interesting to note that in John 13, Judas is referred to as the son of Simon in verse 2 and verse 26. It is very likely that Simon the Leper was the father of Judas. It only follows that if the meal were being held in Simon’s house that it would be natural to refer to Judas as the son of Simon, the host on that occasion.
THE DISCUSSION OF THE BETRAYAL
Jesus discussed His betrayal on the night of John 13 and also on the Passover night. An examination of these conversations reveals they are two different occasions. First, on the night of John 13, the disciples were puzzled but there are no indications they were overly upset. On the Passover night the disciples became “exceedingly sorrowful” when the betrayal was discussed. Secondly, on the occasion of John 13, Peter asked John to inquire of the Lord to reveal the identity of the betrayer. But on the Passover night, Matthew 26 says “and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?” Thirdly, the betrayer was identified differently on the two occasions. John 13:26 says that Jesus gave a sop (a piece of bread dipped in some sort of prepared food) to Judas. On the Passover night, Jesus identified Judas verbally by saying “Thou hast said” (Matt 26:25). Fourthly, Judas left the gathering on the night of John 13 but there are no indications he left the Passover gathering prematurely.
JESUS USED FOOT WASHING AS A CASE IN POINT
If the Lord did not intend for foot washing to be observed as a religious ceremony or an act of worship, what was the reason for His washing the disciples’ feet? Clearly, Jesus was using foot washing as a typical example of Christian behavior. Foot washing was normally performed by servants. It can be safely said that foot washing was never performed by the guest of honor. Jesus took advantage of this to demonstrate the nature of discipleship. Jesus taught this same principle when He said, “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave” (Matt 20:26-27 NIV). The disciples were plagued by a spirit of competition. They desired to hold positions of prominence above the other. This was a worldly attitude connected to the belief that Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom.
Jesus’ Kingdom is spiritual not earthly. Those who are greatest in the Kingdom are those who JID serve others. Paul wrote, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:4-5 NIV). The same principle applies to Jesus’ statements about giving a cup of cold water (Matt 10:42, Mark 9:41) to another. It was not the Lord’s purpose to make “giving a cup of water” an item of worship or a religious ceremony. Rather, He is referring to giving a cup of water to someone who is thirsty; He is referring to an act of kindness and hospitality. The frame of mind that is found in those who are humble and hospitable produces the behavior that is desired by the Lord. Christ does not authorize Christians to observe foot washing or giving a cup of water in the worship of the Church or as religious ceremonies. Rather, he expects us to wash feet when washing is needed and to give water when others are thirsty.
Mr. F. L. Anderson writing in the JSBE gives a brief history of “religious foot washing.” He writes,
It was first in the fourth century (cf. Ambrose and Augustine) that it became the custom to wash the feet of the baptized on Maundy Thursday….Bernard of Clairvaux advocated making it a sacrament. The Pope, the Czar, and the Patriarch of Constantinople wash the feet of 12 poor men on Maunday Thursday; so did the English kings till James II, and it is still practiced in the royal palaces of Madrid, Munich and Vienna.
Religious foot washing is never mentioned in the book of Acts or any of the Epistles. Religious history indicates that it was not observed by the early Christians who lived close in time to the Apostles. It was not until the Fourth Century when the apostasy was well underway that this practice emerged. Within itself, this should be sufficient to demonstrate that foot washing is not an act of Christian worship nor a ceremony of New Testament Christianity. The Lord washed the disciples’ feet because they needed washing, using the occasion as an opportunity to demonstrate with a case in point the proper attitudes of humility and service to others.
Fehren, Henry, “Ceremony of Foot Washing,” Encyclopedia Americana, Vol. 11, p. 530, New York, 1971 edition.
Wight, Fred H., Manners and Customs of Bible Lands, p. 75, Moody Press, Chicago, 1953.
Kurtz, Daniel Webster, “Washing of Feet: According to the Belief and Practice of the Church of the Brethren, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, p, 3073, Vol. V, Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub, Co,, Grand Rapids, 1939.
Luering, H.L.E. “Foot,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, p. 1125, Vol. ll, Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids, 1939.
Anderson, F.L. “Washing of Feet,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, pp. 3072-3073, Ne V, Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids, 939.
[This is the contents of a tract entitled Foot Washing- Worship or Hospitality?]
First, notice that this command to “wash one another’s feet” was given to the apostles. Jesus told the twelve whose feet he had just washed to wash each other’s feet (John 13:14,15). Hence, this command was issued specifically to the apostles. Of course, the general principle of being a servant is taught in the next verse (v.16). Note, secondly, that the apostles understood that foot washing was a synecdoche for all manner of service. (Synecdoche is a figure of speech where the part is named for the whole…In this case, Jesus names foot washing to stand for all acts of humble service and hospitality.) For this reason, we never read in the New Testament writings of the apostles literally washing each other’s dirty feet. However, we do read of their service one to another, which certainly included washing each other’s feet after a long journey, as was the custom in those days. – P. Melton