In terms of literally washing one another’s feet, the answer is no. When Jesus instituted the practice at the Last Supper, it is obvious from the reading of the text that He had something deeper in mind than literal washing. Note His words in John 13:7: “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” The Apostles could not help but know what He was doing right then, He was washing their feet. But Jesus was teaching a deeper, spiritual lesson. He was trying to impress upon them the necessity of cleansing their hearts from all evils of their carnal nature. They might not grasp the significance of what He was doing right then, but after they received the Holy Spirit power they would understand more.
Jesus says in verse 10, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” Again, Jesus was not talking about literal uncleanness, as the passage clearly indicates. The one who would betray Him was “unclean”— not a literal condition but a spiritual one.
Spiritual feet washing consists of helping one another in the process of overcoming the evils of our lower nature; this we do practice. If we see a brother or sister in transgression of God’s law, it is our duty to warn them of their danger. Members of the body of Christ are under obligation to one another to aid one another in cleansing themselves from all filthiness of the flesh, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7:1).
Human nature has repeatedly substituted form for force in religious life. It is much easier to wash the feet than to wash away the evils of the heart. It is much easier to worship the Lord on Saturday or Sunday than to keep every day holy to Him. It is much easier to be baptized with literal water than to wash away the evils of the heart and form a character pleasing to God. Many religious groups focus upon some outward ritual, which can be observed without too much sacrifice, while leaving the inner life untouched.
Literal feet washing was a social custom in Jesus’ day, and Jesus used it as an object lesson. We are reminded of the words of the Psalmist (51:17), “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.” This is the sacrifice and cleansing God requires of us.