Street Cleaners and Foot Washing

One day as I was walking to Bible study (all uphill), it was a little difficult to keep consistent footing because there were so many leaves on the sidewalk. A recent rain made walking on wet leaves a bit tricky. Halfway up the hill, I encountered public service people cleaning the sidewalk and street. It was a joint affair – one man sweeping the leaves, another behind him with a large water hose spraying the leaves from the sidewalk to the gutter and finally a big truck gathered the leaves from the curb and vacuumed them into the truck. After passing the workmen, my trek was much easier. The path was clean, free of obstructions.

Starting my walk, I really hadn’t thought about the leaves or the mud. I was just trying to work my way through them or around them. The pathway didn’t really look dirty to me. In fact, I didn’t think about it until after I had passed the workmen and was treading on clean pavement.

If you are in the family of God, you have been cleansed from sin by the blood of Jesus. Believers still sin and should confess their sins, but God tells us He stands ready to forgive those sins and have us return to fellowship with Him.

Sometimes, like the leaves on my pathway, we hardly notice the things that need moving out of the way. We walk through those things or around them without giving it much thought. Everyday obstructions of the world become so commonplace we aren’t even aware our pathway needs a washing. Those obstructions can be anything: a sin, a worry, a disease, concern about a loved one or maybe a problem with our job.


There is a constant need to check for things that need to be cleaned up in our lives – anything that might hinder us from following the Lord without interference. A clean, clear path is much easier to follow than one that has to be maneuvered around.


Just before His crucifixion, Jesus made this point to His disciples. He washed their feet. As He told Peter, they were clean already because they had bathed, but a foot washing was necessary to get rid of the world’s dirt and grime. When we submit to Jesus for a foot washing, He removes some things – such as sin or worry. Other things beyond our control obstructing our path, we can simply give to Him to carry – such as ill health or concern about a loved one.

We often come to Jesus in prayer and praise Him, thank Him, ask Him for guidance or direction and bring all kinds of concerns to Him. He is delighted when we do that. We should pray for all those things. Before we bring any of our concerns to Him in prayer, though, it would be a good idea to ask Him first if we need a foot washing.

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.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” 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” (John 13:8-10).

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