my circumstances are not wild.
they are not out of the ordinary.
they are not exceptional.
i am not remarkable apart from the fact that i am loved by the one and only great lover of this world.
‘it was just before the passover feast. jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the father. having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.’ john 13:1
there was a night in swaziland where the girls of my team and i were sitting unexpectedly around a feast. the feast had been prepared for us by two of our own. there were grapes (a true rarity) and the cheese from the expensive part of the store and the kind of bread that really fills you up and sparkling grape juice like the kind you drink at family holidays when you’re not allowed to have the champagne. it was something to get excited about. and yet even at the mere sight of it all, i could feel the tears beginning to well up…
and as if the food wasn’t already too much, our two friends then pulled out two buckets full of water.
now, i had always known that the washing of feet was a sacred and cleansing and humbling thing; that jesus had even humbled himself to wash the feet of his disciples. but i had missed the part where he calls us to wash the feet of others just as he did for his friends and followers.
the girls continued by reading all of john 13 aloud to us.
at this point the tears were involuntarily flowing.
they both made their way around the circle of girls waiting to be made clean.
now let me just put into perspective that, despite our best efforts to stay clean, there existed only one shower for a group of fifteen girls. and no matter how hard we tried to keep our little abode spotless and free of dirt, it always found its way in…all that to say, we were dirty. our feet were calloused, caked with filth, and probably rather foul-smelling, though i never personally tested this theory for fear of finding its validity (ha).
so, as my dear friend approached me with her humble grin and her meager bucket of water, i waited in anticipation. i was eager to be cleansed. and my heart was heavy — aching for freedom. in the moments where i would be cleansed fast approaching, i couldn’t help but imagine jesus coming towards me with the bucket in his hands instead. and i began to tremble with a feeling i can’t quite put into words.
an overwhelming gratitude flooded my heart. it flooded my whole being. i was paralyzed in the presence of the lord; his love invading every part of me. and i wept.
i wept. an ugly, all-encompassing, uncontrollable fit of tears rushed from some place i knew not of. and i sat in this puddle as i was stripped of pride and the filth that had been entangling my soul.
i could taste the mere beginnings of the full extent of his love. and i think that’s why i can’t exactly describe how i felt in those moments…because the fulness of jesus’ love was not meant to be comprehended. it was meant for us to stand back in awe of and to wonder at the glory of his loving us until the end.
because why would someone as great as jesus choose to love someone as little as me?
‘how great is the love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of god! and that is what we are!’ 1 john 3:1