Last night, as I was doing my study in the Bible, I ran across this passage in 2 Kings:
Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the LORD says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’ ” And the water has remained wholesome to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken. 2 Kings 2:21-22 (NIV)
Remember that passage about being salt and light in this world? I was challenged by that (among other things) yesterday during the sermon at my church (Northside Christian):
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
Matt. 5:13-16 (The Message)
I find it very striking that salt is used, in this context, as a cleansing agent for water. Water has been used as a cleansing, purifying agent in many other instances in the Bible, but in this one, water must be “cleaned up” by the salt. However, the LORD, knowing that water is vital for us (John 4:10), oftentimes shakes up the still, grungy waters in our lives.
On a very chemical basis, any water that has been “softened” – i.e. through a water softener – has been through a salt solution. My dad used to work a second job as a repair / delivery tech for a small water softener company (Water Doctor, for those who know). A couple summers out of that, I helped him run his routes and made a little allowance for doing it. We quite literally saw how the salt would cause the water to be more usable – safer to drink, easier to lather soap, etc.
So, as salt in this world, we are purifiers of the water that sometimes stagnates in culture. When we react in culture, we are to stimulate purity – not by completely changing the composition of the water going through (it’s still H2O coming out of the tap), but flavoring it with purity so that there’s a noticeable difference.