The vessels in the tabernacle were largely reserved for the priests, including the bronze basin (called the laver in the KJV). That certainly does not mean that its spiritual teaching does not apply to you. When you came to Christ, you became part of a “holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1Peter 2:5, KJV). Every believer is a priest in need of the ministry of the basin.
Exodus 30:17-21 says that, every time the priests went into the tabernacle and every time that they were going to minister at the altar, they must first wash their hands and feet at this basin. God required cleanliness in those who would serve Him. He still does. Have you washed lately?
The requirement for the priests to wash their hands and feet wasn’t because they had committed some grossly indecent sin. It was simply that, as they moved around the tabernacle courtyard and journeyed through the wilderness, they got dirty. Their God was holy and pure. He still is holy and pure. And, like those priests in the tabernacle, you become defiled in your spirit, simply by moving through this world. The Lord Jesus did not have sinful flesh, so He could not contract defilement in the world. When He returns for His Church, you will be conformed to His image, and will no longer need the spiritual ministry of the basin. Until then, you need to wash – regularly.
The Lord illustrated this in John 13 when He took water from a basin and washed His disciples’ feet. He told them that, without this ministry, they would not enjoy fellowship with Him. Peter thought he might as well be washed all over! The Lord replied, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean” (John 13:10, ESV). If you are saved, you have had a spiritual bath (cf. Exo 29:4, Titus 3:5), and you are clean. You are a new person in Christ. You are part of the priesthood. You have the privilege of worshiping and serving God. You are clean, but you still need to wash your hands and your feet.
The world is a dirty place. Its media, its values, its sensuality – all is designed to appeal to your sinful flesh. And even without knowingly having acted upon the lusts of your flesh, you become defiled. The ministry of the basin is available for you today, and is found in the pure, clean water of the Word of God (John 15:3; Eph 5:26). The Word of God washes you. It refreshes your perspective. It teaches you God’s values. And it shows you a beautiful Savior. Just as the Lord knelt at the disciples’ feet with a basin of water, so He would kneel at your feet to lovingly wash them with the water of His Word. Make regular time for your Bible. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word” (Psa 119:9, ESV).