What is the Symbolism of Feet?

Symbolism of Feet

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The symbolism of feet is used in many ways in the Bible. We don’t always pay attention to our feet, but they are worthy of a lot attention and special care, physically and spiritually.

Host’s Duty

It was the host’s duty in Israel in Bible times, to provide a servant to wash the feet of his guests, as the roads were dusty. Washing the feet was as essential as washing the hands before partaking of food. It was customary for guests to recline on low, cushioned couches while eating. This custom was a sign of power and luxury enjoyed by the Greek elite and believed to aid digestion. A custom the Romans adopted.


Jesus was at the end of His ministry on earth and was about to be betrayed, arrested and crucified. He was getting ready to face the greatest battle of the universe and about to defeat his arch enemy, Satan, Colossians 2:15. The war on the Cross of Calvary was all about what was happening in the spiritual world and the slaying of the long awaited Messiah. Something Satan had tried to do since the time of Cain and Abel.

Jesus walked with, and taught his disciples for three years and it was time to leave them. As a teacher how would you say goodbye to your pupils? Jesus did something no one would have expected.

Totally Unexpected

Removing His outer coat, Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist, poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet. It was a task only the lowliest servant of the house usually performed.

The disciples strongly objected to Jesus’ action, but He had more to say about feet washing, as it was a parable, teaching a heavenly truth. Having bathed, it was only necessary to wash the dust off the feet. This means that once a person has accepted salvation, it is only necessary to ‘wash’ off daily dirt.

Humility and Service

Jesus washing His disciples’ feet was also parable of how disciples should live by serving one another. Pride is destructive, Proverbs 16:18,19, just as unforgiveness is poison to the soul.

Jesus pointed out the servant is not greater than the Lord. If the creator of the universe, Colossians 1:16,17, could do something so humble, how much more does He require it of His followers?


The Bible has a lot more to say about the symbolism of feet, besides being an example humbleness.

Martha bustled around the kitchen, Luke 10:38 preparing food for her guests. If you have ever been a hostess, you will have lots of empathy for Martha. However, she was a wealthy woman and would have had servants to do the kitchen chores. However, as a studious hostess she felt the need to oversee that everything was perfect .

Her sister Mary chose to sit in adoration at the feet of Jesus and take in every word Jesus spoke, Luke 10:42. Martha complained to Jesus, who gently chided Martha, telling her Mary had made the wiser choice.

Profound Adoration

In an action of love and worship the feet of Jesus were anointed twice. Once at the beginning of His ministry, Luke 7:3 and again at the end of His ministry in preparation for His burial, John 12:1. Both times the anointing was done by a woman using very expensive ointment.

John, the writer of Revelation, was so overcome with what he saw and heard he fell down to worship before the feet of an angel, Revelation 22:8. The angel corrected John and told him they were both servants of God and God alone should be worshipped.

Symbolism of Feet as a Weapon

Paul, the apostle, talks about the whole armour of God. Each of the seven elements had an individual function, either in defence or in offense. The feet are to be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, Ephesians 6:15.

Paul was telling the people to be prepared to share the gospel of Jesus Christ at any time. The good news of salvation for all who are willing to accept the Messiah. The prophet Isaiah spoke of the feet of those who carry the good news of salvation as being beautiful, Isaiah 52:7.

We all know the feeling and agony of pinched, or injured feet and how it affects our walk. The Gospel of peace is also a protection against the chaotic state of the world we live in.

Symbolism of Feet in Victory

Joshua called all the men of war of Israel to put their feet upon the necks of five enemy kings they had just defeated, Joshua 24:10. Not only were the kings seen to be humiliated, but it was a sign to all their other enemies that the Hebrews would not be intimidated, and they would totally subjugate their enemies. Not only did it tell the kings they were totally defeated, but it was a form of very public and humiliating punishment.

If the Hebrew people had continued to take all the territory God had promised them, Joshua 1:3 and Deuteronomy 11:24, they would have owned much of the oil of the middle east. They chose to settle for less.

Feet Need Light

Without light the feet stumble. The Psalmist said the word of God is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path, Psalm 119:105. We go where our feet take us, so it is vital we give our feet good and careful direction. What places do we allow our feet to take us?

Judgement in the Symbolism of Feet

In Revelation 1:15 the feet of Jesus are likened to fine brass that has been burned in a furnace. The Son of God was also the Son of Man. He knew all the trials and temptations of life. Brass speaks of judgment and one day soon He will judge all things, John 5:26-29.


We should give our feet as much attention as we give our face. Feet are a symbol of so much of importance, from guidance, humility and service, to protection and worship and finally judgement. Choose carefully where you allow your feet to take you as you enjoy the good things life has to offer.

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Wendy Tendys is a freelance writer who enjoys researching out a topic and sharing words of encouragement.

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