I’m just a couple of hours away from being able to pack up and move out. I have been looking forward to treating myself to a pedicure this afternoon. I can’t stop thinking about how good that is going to feel after being on my feet for hours on end, in cute shoes of course. I didn’t say comfortable, I said cute.
There’s nothing like sitting back and relaxing while your feet soak in that delicious warm, swirling water followed by the foot massage and ending with toes that sparkle and shine. I don’t do it often but when I do I feel pampered and refreshed.
It brings to mind the feet of Jesus and His followers. Long walks, dusty paths, rocky terrain, and hot sweaty weather would have made them very aware of their feet. I can’t imagine their thin, worn sandals would have provided much comfort. When they did sit it wasn’t usually in a cushioned recliner. Most likely it was on a rock or the hard ground.
Is it no wonder that Jesus praised the pedicure given by a sinful woman with oil and tears? Think of it. Jesus, whose feet were tired and swollen, dusty and sore, enters the home of a wealthy Pharisee. His host was well versed in law and protocol. His whole existence was focused around making a good impression, proving himself better than others. No doubt his invitation to host Jesus was a bit risky. He may have had an ulterior motive, wanting to show his superior knowledge or hoping to catch Jesus in a theological mistake. He would have instructed his servants to go all out because, after all, it was all about status and stature – the great Pharisee extending a kindness to the lowly prophet.
But, in all of his preparations, he failed to offer the simple kindness of a bowl of water and a towel to ease the discomfort of his traveler’s feet. He was so caught up in the sensationalism he overlooked the simple.
No wonder the entrance of the unsavory character with the valuable perfume raised Simon the Pharisee’s eyebrows. Who did she think she was and where did she get that jar of expensive oil? Steal it? Sell herself for it? Here at least was something the Pharisee and Jesus would have in common – disdain for the despicable.
As usual Jesus took a different path. In her despair this woman provided what the Pharisee, with all of his possessions, did not. She brought tearful honesty, soothing repentance, raw adoration. Everything the Master cherishes.
If we could just remember the lesson of reaching out found in this beautiful story. It’s never effective when motives overtake mission. It loses its flavor when impressing takes the place of impacting. But when we become the servant, when we let our hair down, when we look for the place that needs a healing touch, our efforts are like expensive perfume poured on sweaty feet. It’s the pedicure that ministers to the entire body. Not only that but the fragrance fills the room and sweetens the heart of everyone around.
And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50