Unwashed Feet





“Come right on in” said the usher at the door

You’re so welcome today, please find a seat”

Failing to notice as the crowd pressed in

The stranger she welcomed had unwashed feet


The stranger sat down in the very front row

An elder came up with a knowing smile

“I’m sorry this row’s reserved for our leaders”

And escorted him back five rows down the aisle


The worship team started, one fast song, two slow

The people stood up to sing loud and strong

The stranger looked round for an eye to meet his

But all eyes were closed – they were singing their song


The pastor emerged and took centre stage

“Welcome to God’s house, find someone to greet”

Some gathered around and shook his hand tight

Trying hard not to stare at his unwashed feet


Each one had come in their best Sunday suit

Not a hair out of place, not a button left loose

And eyebrows were raised enough to take note

The stranger among them was wearing no shoes


The stranger stood up and his voice rang clear

“I have something important to share here today”

The pastor beamed kindly: “Please take your seat,

It’s time for the offering, let’s not delay!”


The stranger sat down while the tithes were taken

Much whispering was heard and heads turned to stare

At this one who had rudely upset the order

And dared to call out from his fifth row chair


A young child escaped from a distracted mother

And ran to the stranger, climbing onto his knee

“What’s your name, where you from?” she asked unabashed

“And please tell me why you have dirty feet?”


The stranger smiled warmly as he played with her curls

“I’ve been on the road for such a long time

Searching for somewhere I can belong

And a traveller’s feet can get covered with grime!”


“Stay here!” the child pleaded, “we have all you need

Some water, and food, and a nice place to sleep”

“Come now” said the mother and pulled her away

“And don’t talk to strangers with unwashed feet!”


The announcements were given and all duly noted

A conference, a wedding, a new building plan

“Mr. Smith had a fall so please keep him in prayer

We need a new hall, give as much as you can!”


“And now for the sermon” said the pastor at last

“Turn to John chapter one, and read verse eleven

Well can you imagine a thing so peculiar

From people who thought they were going to Heaven?!”


Then raising his voice to drive home his lesson:

“‘He came to His own and His own knew Him not’

Now I know such a thing could not happen here

For we are the people who live close to God!”


The people all hurried when the service was over

“Let’s get some nice lunch, then maybe a snooze”

Laughing and kissing and “See you next week!”

But all passed on by the man without shoes


The pastor came up, his wife by his side

“We hope you enjoyed being with us this week

We’d love you to come and visit again

God loves you, you know, and, oh, so do we!


Just one more thing if you don’t mind me saying

Next time you come it will be real neat

If you’ll sit quietly and don’t interrupt

But most of all if you’ll wash your feet!”


The stranger looked past him straining to see

A child standing by with tears on her cheek

“Please don’t go away, I want you to stay

I’ll bring some cool water and I’ll wash your feet!”


Then, kneeling, the stranger took the child’s hand

With pastor and wife looking on in surprise

With hands on her head he prayed a blessing

And gently wiped all the tears from her eyes


“’I’m not welcome here so I must move on

But now we are friends I’ll always be near

Whenever you’re frightened or lonely or sick

Remember me and I promise I’ll hear”


With a kiss to her brow, then not looking back

The stranger walked out and on down the street

On his quest for the lovers who’ll look in his eyes

And don’t give a toss about unwashed feet


© Cheryl McGrath, Bread for the Bride, 2014   Copyright Notice: Permission is granted to freely reproduce any Bread for the Bride articles in emails or internet blogs, unaltered, and providing this copyright notice is included.     To permanently display an article on any static website please contact me for permission.


Related Post:  And He Came to His Own

14 thoughts on “Unwashed Feet

  1. Very powerful and moving…. an aside – when I got saved I was going to service in patched jeans and tie dyed T shirts… I was accepted and loved into the kingdom!


  2. Lord, have mercy! Open eyes to see & hearts to receive YOU, Jesus!
    “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. And He took the children in His arms and blessed them.” Mark 10:15-16


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