Every time we have moved to a new location, we have noticed a difference in the taste and properties of the water that comes out of the faucet in our home. Sometimes the water has been incredibly hard, which causes our appliances to calcify, renders the bathtubs impossible to clean, and adds a patently unpleasant taste to our favorite beverages (coffee, tea, or just plain water!). The simplest (and cheapest) solution for this dilemma would be to install a water filter under the kitchen sink or even on the water line that runs through the refrigerator. However, the water supply in one Texas location was so unpotable that we were compelled to purchase a water softener to improve the water quality for the entire house. Interestingly enough, the “fuel” for that water softener was nothing other than oversized bags of salt.
Water is vital for life, and its toxicity or purity dramatically affects every aspect of our day-to-day activities. Of course, although bottled water is now readily available, at least to most of us in industrialized nations, that was not always the case.
We can read two examples in the Old Testament of methods used by leaders to heal the water on behalf of a community. In Exodus 15, 22-26, we read:
22 Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. 23 When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means “bitter”).
24 Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. 25 So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink.
It was there at Marah that the Lord set before them the following decree as a standard to test their faithfulness to him. 26 He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.” (NLT)
The Lord directed Moses to throw a specific piece of wood into the water; that piece of wood (not just any piece of wood) made the water potable. For us as believers in Jesus Christ, that particular piece of wood is the Cross, which represents God’s Presence and power with us. He heals us and protects us; He frees us from bitterness that could poison our souls. Asking God to help us add the power of the Cross to every situation can bring healing and hope to the worst imaginable circumstances.
Again, in 2 Kings 2: 19-22, The Lord directs Elisha to bring healing to the water supply in a particular way:
19 One day the leaders of the town of Jericho visited Elisha. “We have a problem, my lord,” they told him. “This town is located in pleasant surroundings, as you can see. But the water is bad, and the land is unproductive.”
20 Elisha said, “Bring me a new bowl with salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21 Then he went out to the spring that supplied the town with water and threw the salt into it. And he said, “This is what the Lord says: I have purified this water. It will no longer cause death or infertility.” 22 And the water has remained pure ever since, just as Elisha said. (NLT)
In this case, God instructed Elisha to cast salt into the water. Salt is a reminder of our Covenant with God (see Lev. 2:13, Numbers 18:19, and 2 Chronicles 13:5). That Covenant is a perpetual covenant that cannot be dissolved. It transforms our lives and guarantees God’s Presence with us.
In turn, Jesus reminds us that, as believers, we are the salt of the earth (see Matthew 5:13). His Presence, due to the power of His Crucifixion and Resurrection on our behalf, is what transforms us and has the power to impact everyone around us. May the Gospel of the Cross actually change me, heal me of every trace of bitterness, and cause my
life to be a beautiful taste of Jesus to those around me, a clear reflection of His glory! Lord, make manifest in my life what that Wood and the salt of Your Presence can do! I give You permission to heal the waters of my soul.