Venturing out to the villages in Africa reminds me of the scriptures describing Jesus and the disciples walking from city to city. You are walking in the hot sun with little or no water available. The hot wind blows dust and sand into your eyes and it sticks to any bit of sweat on your skin. Your feet are burning from the heat and dryness of the ground around your sandals and the scorching sun from above. Your feet and legs are orange with dust up to your knees. I came to a completely new understanding of the task of washing feet when welcomed into someone’s home. It soothes them, cleans them and is a luxury you honor your guests with when there is very little soap or water.
The picture is of the feet of a widow woman we visited in the village of D’oure. The stated she was 114 years old, but there are no birth records and it is really hard to say. She is thin and can no longer walk on her own. She is a spirited believer and we talked of how one day we pray she will be walking and dancing in heaven. To me her feet told her life story. The miles those feet must have walked, the weight of water those feet must have carried, the harvest fields those feet trod for food, the nine children those feet bore the weight of and the joyful dancing that those feet have done. No extra water to soothe them when they were burning, no soap or lotion to clean them, never being an honored guest or resting them in the luxury of a home without a dirt floor.
The little things that were done in the time of Jesus and mentioned in scripture, like the washing of feet, which we may not even think about or we overlook may give us a better insight to the life, teachings and motives of Christ. When the woman washed and dried Jesus’ feet with her hair, she could not have honored him in a greater way. I know my time in Africa has given me a new perspective on scripture and a taste of what life was like when Jesus lived and I have been blessed with a greater understanding by it.