Jesus lived in a dirty time and place.
Animals carried people and burdens. Streets were mostly unpaved. It was a time of dust and filth and people wore sandals.
Washing someone feet was the work of slaves. But it was needed when you came into a home especially for a meal.
To show his humble place compared to Jesus, John the Baptist said he was unworthy to even unlatch Jesus sandals. He was beneath a slave. (John 1:26-27)
No one would wash the disciples feet at their final meal with Jesus so he took the role of a slave. He washed their feet as an example of the humble service that he expected from them when they became the leaders of his church. (John 13:1-11))
Two women washed Jesus feet with their hair, an ultimate sign of submission, respect and thankfulness. Taking his filth away and making themselves dirty and smelly and offensive.
At the home of a Simon the Pharisee an unnamed woman known for an unnamed evil in her life washed his feet while he ate with the Pharisee. Simon, a religious leader, made no provision for Jesus’ feet to be washed. Simon saw this and thought that Jesus must not be a prophet because he let this evil woman touch him. Jesus pointed out that she was thankful much because she was forgiven much. Jesus then forgave her sins. (Luke 7:36-50))
Near the end of his ministry Mary of Bethany, sister to Martha and Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead, washed Jesus’ feet. When she was criticized for the waste and expense of the perfume Jesus said it was in preparation for his burial. Judas was concerned about the money. This woman who sat at Jesus feet and listened closely to his teaching knew that he was to die. She humbled herself and praised him as the soon to suffer Messiah. (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8)
One woman saw in Jesus forgiveness for her sins. The other wanted to anoint Messiah before his sacrificial death.
Have you ever wanted to do something so much that nothing could stop you?