Our journey with Matthew takes us through hills and valleys of Jesus' ministry to lead us to grasp what was at stake. The text is difficult because it takes us back into the world of disputes of 1st century Israel. Jesus never rejects the practices of the religious leaders in their day. But he intensely disagrees with the Pharisees' traditions that make them more specific than scripture and with the idea that they define God's poeple. In this contect of "washing hands" Jesus calls the crowd to hear a parable: what comes in and what goes out of the mouth. The pharisses saw that Jesus' parable did not ultimately just apply to washing hands. It undermines their entier system of religious authority. The heart has always been God's main concerne. There the deep pollution of life festers and comes out in word and action.