Various ceremonial washings were enjoined in the Mosaic law, both upon priests, Exodus 30:19-21, and upon others, Leviticus 12:1; 15:33 Hebrews 9:10.
These were significant of spiritual purification through the Savior’s blood, Titus 3:5 Revelation 1:5, as well as of that holiness without which none can see God. To these the Jews added other traditional ablutions, Mark 7:2-4; and regarded it as an act of impiety to neglect them, as Christ frequently did, Luke 11:38. The washing of the hands before and after meals, Matthew 15:2, called for by their custom of feeding themselves with their fingers, is still practiced in Syria. See cut in BED.
Where there is a servant in attendance, he pours water from a pitcher over his master’s hands, holding also a broad vessel underneath them, 2 Kings 3:11 Psalms 60:8. See FOOT and SANDALS. "Washing the hands" was a protestation of innocence, Deuteronomy 21:6 Matthew 27:24; and has given rise to the proverbial saying common among us, "I wash my hands of that."