The Many Applications Of Salt Part 3: Salt Is A Filter
So we've established that salt brings out the true nature of things and is a preservative. Here's another interesting application of salt and what it has to do with the Bible. Salt is also used in many ways as a filter. Do you have a water softener at home? A water softener is just a filter system that uses salt to draw out impurities.
Did you know there is actually a miracle in the Bible which involves salt? Yes indeed! It's one of my favorite miracles of the Old Testament.
"Then the men of the city said to Elisha, “Please notice, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the ground barren.”
And he said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the source of the water, and cast in the salt there, and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness.’” So the water remains healed to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke."
2 Kings 2:19-22
Now, here's the deal with this miracle: this is not a supernatural miracle. You see, what was going on in that area in those days was the worship of baal. The book of 1 Kings has a pretty clear, or maybe I should say, "clear but not-so-pretty" picture of what went on in baal worship.
"So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them."
1 Kings 18:19
This particular event is recorded during the showdown between the prophet Elijah and the 450 priests of baal. Baal was their idol for rain and life, but required his worshipers to make gashes in their body as a symbol of preparing the fields for rain, thus the self-mutilation. You can learn more about it in the Ugarit Texts, here's a link to some more information: http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/ugarit.html It's definitely fascinating material to read.
Anyway, back to the yucky well water situation. The nation of Israel was experiencing a drought and instead of seeking God for help, they sought baal instead. Now, it's pure speculation at this point, but it's very likely that the priests of baal were bleeding into the wells in a pathetic attempt to petition baal for rain. Obviously, if there's blood in stagnant water, it's going to make people sick and keep crops from growing well. What probably happened when Elisha threw the salt into the well, it might have acted as a filter that drew out the impurities from the water.
It is still a miracle though because what's going on in this situation is far beyond the understanding of its time. It's not likely that Elisha just knew adding salt to the well would filter out the impurities, but God did. This is what we call a "Providential Miracle" where it's clearly God providing through natural means.
What application is there for us today? The world is full of death and barrenness, but if we are salt to the Earth, we can remove the things that cause this world to die in its sin. So be like Elisha and bring salt and life to this lost and dying world!