The Trust Blog

Opinions, insights and learnings for a better world

Gain fresh insights from Rev. Bill Crews and guest contributors.

My experience washing the feet of the homeless

My experience washing the feet of the homeless

At lunchtime very Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, in our Loaves and Fishes Free Restaurant I wash the feet of as many homeless guests as I can in memory of Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples before he was arrested tortured and executed.

I started doing this in protest at the way the church had made a ritual of it where only goodly religious people did it to each other with all the church pomp and ceremony around it, making it, in a way, remote from life itself.

I remember, on hearing that I was going to do it, one elderly religious lady asked me if I was going to wear my robes.
“No.” I told her.

As the guests file into our restaurant I grab them by the hand and lead them to a chair, a tub of water and some towels. They sit in the chair put their feet in the tub and I wash their feet.

It is such a moving, spiritual experience for me. As I wash their feet the guests cannot help but tell me their life stories and a real gentle loving bond develops.

Every year there is a story that moves me to tears. This year I noticed a hooded, homeless woman walking in for a meal and I knew I had to wash her feet.

I lead her to the chair, she took her sandals off and immersed her feet in the warm water.

“I have been homeless for a long time” she said. “Not just in Sydney but in other cities too. I have mental issues and life can be very hard. I started to come here for meals and your social worker is helping me a lot”

There was something very special about this woman, she had a gentleness, a warm smile and dark eyes which exhibited a wariness and weariness from living a life on the edges.

I washed and dried her feet and we looked into each other’s eyes. We hugged over the tub of water for what seemed an eternity. Her body shook a bit as she cried.

She then said “Until I came here I felt there was just me and God alone on the street.”

Later in the afternoon I spoke to our social worker about this lady and her eyes filled with tears too, as she had seen in this homeless woman what I had seen. “She’s very special, Bill” she said. I really pray she will find some some peace with us here in this place

Postscript:

I had asked Stephen to take a photograph while I washed a man’s feet. It’s the feature image of this post. The sunlight came through the window at the precise moment he took the photo. It’s really quite magic, eh?

12 Comments

  1. What an amazing image of a lovely Easter moment!

    Reply
    • I’m in tears just reading Bills story.

      Reply
    • What an amazing man of God you are Bill. I take my hat off to you!

      Reply
  2. Thanks, Bill, this was inspiring as all your work is.

    Reply
  3. A very special time in the Christian calendar. Thank you for making God’s Message clear to these beautiful souls.

    Reply
  4. Dear Reverend Bill.

    I’m a very lucky koala, and reading about the people who Exodus helps, and so many others in need, makes me realise just HOW lucky I am. Whenever I am feeling hardly done by, I just need to pull myself up and ‘get over myself’ as anything that isn’t quite right in my life pales in comparison with so many others. I give thanks to God for my lucky life, and my wonderful parents – both now dead – who really made it possible.

    I’ll give you a post-Easter donation soon – I daresay you receive a lot of donations before Easter, so think your coffers will need a boost now.

    God bless, Reverend Bill. You are a true legend and Earth angel.

    Regards,
    Kate Cole

    Reply
  5. Rev bill. You have brought tears to my eyes a number of times now you became a very specail friend of mine when you did a memorail for a very specail person in my life i well never forget that. We will have to catch up soon. I havent been at ashfield for a very long time because 2 people that go to ashfield hurt me very much and i dont no how to get rid of the fear i have towards these 2 people but i miss you bill i have to overcome this fears so i can see you and your wonderful staff.

    Regards
    Trevor Lewis

    Reply
  6. I miss you Reverend Bill. Miss our talks. You are as Kate said, an Earth Angel. God bless you. Regards, Robert McIntosh.

    Reply
  7. God bless you. No body knows in which form lord cames. Mighty thanks to you. Bringing the love and true message of Lord. May the sprite of love and devotion stay alive. Amen.

    Reply
  8. Lovely stories Bill and people have the opportunity to say their stories and be listened to.
    Good on you!!

    Reply
  9. A beautiful story !, Reverend Bill, God bless you and everyone at the Exodus Foundation.

    Reply
  10. Dear Bill, You are a legend and I know Our Dear Lord must be very proud of you and walks with you and watches over you as you continually do his work, very best wishes from Chris at Coolah 11.4.18 9.20am

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *