I’m in a bible study right now that is going through the book Taste and See by Margaret Feinberg and each chapter the author explores a food and how it is used in the Bible to teach us about Jesus and His kingdom and how we should live. I just started chapter 5 and it’s about Salt. I enjoyed the chapter but it reminded me about a devotional I wrote a couple years back for our art ministry group. I wanted to share what I had found about salt at that time. I based my discoveries on the principle that God created things to teach us about his kingdom and way of living. I took a closer look at how salt is mentioned in the verse Matthew 5:13″ You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men.”
So my question was what did Jesus mean by calling us salt? Jesus was talking to Jewish peasants who wanted to hear his teachings. Because they were learning and following Him he wanted to give them a true picture of what it means to live the life God wants. So what is salt? Salt is the combination of Sodium and Chloride its chemical formula is NaCl. That is one atom of sodium and one atom of chloride. It is a very stable atom. So stable that when put through a battery designed to separate the components of an atom, salt will not separate. It is made up of 7 electrons (chlorine) and 1 electron ( Sodium). This is kind of like how when we change from being man (chlorine and 6 electrons) and become a christian, adding Jesus to our lives that one extra electron, makes us stable. It makes me think of how Jesus is referred to as our anchor in a storm of life.
This stability also actually helps when making clean water for countries that do not have it. Using a simple battery and salt to purify water the battery will separate the charges of the compounds in the water. Since Sodium is positively charged and chlorine is negatively charged the chlorine will separate from the sodium and the charge can purify the water.
Next I examined salt’s properties, Salt is clear and crystallized. That means you can see what is inside. We are like this too. We are vessels. What we put inside ourselves, comes out of us. Luke 6:45 says. “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
So if you spend your time thinking about things that are not good, your more likely to do things that are not good, but If you think about things in loving ways, and are thankful for them your more likely to produce good in your life. There is another verse that goes along with this its found in Matthew 6:22
“The eye is the lamp of the body, If your eyes are healthy your whole body will be full of life, but if your eyes are unhealthy your whole body will be full of darkness.” So this means what you spend your time doing and looking at matters. If I spend my time playing a video game I’m going to talk about it, draw about it, think about it. I see this in my kids who love Animal Jam and Rolbox. So if you read God’s word and pray every day, your likely to remember God’s instructions and live a life that reflects Jesus.
When you add salt to water it expands and fills with the water. Jesus said he could give living water. Salt expands with water and makes the water taste different. When we fill ourselves with God’s word, Jesus pours himself into us and we can easily imitate Him. His word combines with us allowing us to care and love more deeply the people around us. Our words becomes “saltier” not like we say now, more sarcastic, but instead how He means in verse “ Let your words always be full of grace, seasoned with salt” in Colossians 4:6 Our words will sound sweeter, taste better and be more rooted in love towards others.
When salt is added to water and heated, the boiling point of water raises from 100 C to approximately two degrees higher. Therefore cooks use it to help their water burn hotter when cooking. The Holy Spirit is the helper Jesus sent when he rose back to heaven. Working together with the Holy Spirit by asking for help with what we are doing allows us to have a better outcome ( hotter water). This is why Jesus says his way is easier and his yoke is light in Matthew Chapter 11 verse 28-30.
Salt can be in rock form when found – The Sea of Galilee had salt deposits near it. The Israelites would go and mine salt from these areas. They would have to break it off into pieces of rock salt and then grind it down before it can be used. This is a lot like what happens to us when we decide to live for Jesus. The Holy Spirit refines us, like salt is refined. He breaks us of sins and strongholds in our lives that are not good for us and teaches us how to live in love. This happens when we commit to reading and praying regularly. This is seen in the Bible when John talks about pruning in chapter 15 verse 2. “ He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
So what does the second part of this verse mean. How does salt losing its saltiness? Have you ever had the salt in your salt shaker not taste salty?? I haven’t. Well apparently on that Sea of Galilee by the salt mines there were also Gypsum mines. When it would rain particles of Gypsum would mix with salt particles and the salt would not taste salty. This unsalty salt still worked well for traction though. So the priests would take this to the temple and on rainy slick days they would pour it on the floor of the synagog so that no one would slip and fall when they came to the temple to worship. Just like we pour salt mixed with dirt on our roads in the winter. Gypsum in this parable is sinful things we do, Anger is a good example. If you hold on to being angry it’s really hard to love that person your upset with. Jesus is saying to turn away from sin, and ask forgiveness. Some sins we can’t avoid, we have to ask the Holy Spirit to help us learn how to avoid them. But there are some sins where we make a conscious decision to do wrong. Jesus is saying to live a life like that will end up in you being useful to him for any reason accept keeping those who are faithful from falling like you. Or in other words being the bad example. So that’s what Jesus means when he says to be like salt. He made us and salt alike so that we have a visible example of what He is and what we are supposed to be like.