Anther great article at Lumen Gentleman:“The Footwashing Ritual and the Sacrament of Holy Orders: A New Look at John 13”
This is by far the best article I’ve found on the subject of foot washing. Last year when the inevitable kerfuffle about washing women’s feet on Holy Thursday arose, I went hunting for articles that would explicate the Biblical passage and unravel the connection between footwashing and the institution of the priesthood. And I found some good stuff, but even the best of what I found left me feeling like there was something I wasn’t getting, some gap I couldn’t see clearly but knew was there. With this article, I felt like the gaps were finally closed.
I especially liked the way the article traces the roots of the ritual to Old Testament passages. So often I find that when I’m confused about the Bible, turning to the Old Testament (or, rather finding a commentary that does so) is what helps to unlock the hard passages. And when I’ve been stuck in the Old Testament it’s frequently finding a commentary that refers to Jewish rabbinical tradition and to Jewish culture that helps dispel the murk.