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  • Writer's pictureHope Stuart

Salty HOPE

Do you love salt as much as I do? Yes, I know the health issues associated with salt: high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke to name a few. However, I can’t imagine my fries without it. Yes, I “want fries with that” … fries with SALT! My pinches of salt look more like teaspoons! Kidding aside, salt is something our bodies need especially when we are exercising and perspiring. Salt, in moderation, is healthy for our bodies, our souls, and our HOPE. Stick with me for about 5 minutes and you will find out all you need (or want) to know about… salty HOPE.

In fact, during Elijah’s time, around 900-500 B.C., salt was considered a valuable commodity. Not only was it used to flavor food, but salt also preserved food and… was used as a disinfectant to prevent infections. Salt’s purity even inspired its use in sacrifices at the temple. Salt was associated with purity and health and, believe it not, during a feast in the B.C.s, your level in society determined your proximity to the salt at the table. Think of how easily accessible salt is to us now. We’ve come a long way baby!

Fast forward to the 1980’s A.D., I recall having the same reaction to foods that tasted salty and bitter. My tongue must have been super sensitive to these flavors and associated them both with the opposite of anything sweet. I guess I had a super sweet tooth! Then, as a student, I vividly remember the lesson when I learned that our tongue has different areas where we taste different flavors. It was during that lesson when I became very aware that salty and bitter flavors were very different. With experience and wisdom (hold the laughter), I learned that while both saltiness and bitterness are not sweet, these flavors are definitively NOT the same.

This is also true through a spiritual lens. Spiritually speaking, salt is associated with value, purification, protection, permanence, and loyalty. Bitterness, on the other hand, is spiritually associated with someone who has been hurt or victimized. In fact, maror refers to the bitter herb eaten during the Passover Seder by the Hebrew people to commemorate and symbolize their deliverance from bondage in Egypt. Saltiness and bitterness are as different to the spirit as they are to the tongue.

Spiritual bitterness blocks out joy and erases the sweetness of peace in people’s lives. While this bitterness can limit a person’s God-given potential, it also has the power to destroy relationships, including marriages and the family unit. Often, an unforgiving spirit is the cause of bitterness when a person experiences pain and hurt. When the hurt isn’t resolved, a person can hold onto that pain while finding more painful things to justify the hurt. Hurt begets more hurt and bitterness begets even more bitterness.

Circling back to Elijah’s time, a bitter spring of water existed, causing barrenness. The seeds, trees, and plants that grew within this area would not bear fruit. The bitterness produced bareness. Bitterness prevented a harvest of fruit until Elijah followed God’s direction and placed salt at the very source of those bitter waters. You guessed it… once salt was introduced, the waters were healed, and the area was no longer barren. Introduce salt and purification occurs… sounds like a lesson of HOPE on the horizon. (Keep reading 😊)

There is beautiful symbolism within the bitterly barren analogy above… and the symbolism centers around Jesus and His HOPE. While salt cleared these bitter waters, Jesus cleanses our sinful souls. Jesus, and He alone, is the only way to God… to a relationship with the Holies of Holy. Good works will NOT save us. It is only Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that cleanses our bitter bodies, eternally wounded by sin, and makes us righteous and pure, like salt, in God’s eyes. In Mark 9:50, Jesus said, “Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” Jesus purifies our soul and brings peace within ourselves and with each other like salt purified those bitterly barren waters. Jesus and salt are packed with a ton of HOPE… pure and salty HOPE.

If you have yet to accept Jesus as your Savior, flavor your life with His peace, joy, and HOPE while rooting out the bitterness and hurt that sin creates. Ask God to show you the way to His peace by applying the salt of His forgiveness, wisdom, power, and HOPE to your heart and soul. I guarantee you the BARRENNESS you feel will be replaced with BLESSINGS beyond anything you can imagine and… you will never look at salt the same way again. You’re welcome 😉

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