The recent very hot weather, combined with the necessity of marking, have made me more sedentary than usual, so this morning I decided to walk the 8-mile round trip to work. As I mentioned last year, this can be a very pleasant experience if you do it right, and so it was today, but there's no denying that by the time I got back I was pretty hot and bothered. Until, that is, I kicked off my sandals and lowered my plates into a bowl of cold water. Instant, all-over refreshment!
Yes, Jesus was definitely on to something with the foot-washing idea. Actually, the context of the story suggests that having a servant wash one's feet was the kind of thing one might expect to happen at a formal dinner in first-century Judea, and I think it's a custom cafes and restaurants might very usefully revive, at least in summer. What could be blissier than to kick off one's sandals and sit sipping a citron pressé while a willing attendant coolly laves one's every toe? I've never bought a shoe shine or a pedicure, but I would definitely pay a premium for that service.
Incidentally, C. S. Lewis seems to have been struck by this verse too. At any rate, he appears to riff on it in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe:
Lucy looked and saw that Aslan had just breathed on the feet of the stone giant.
"It's all right!" shouted Aslan joyously. "Once the feet are put right, all the rest of him will follow."
Is it a stretch to see that as a Gospel allusion?