Saturday, August 6, 2011

Salty Salt Supercedes Stale Salt

Ok, so I found something cool this morning while reading the Good Word and I decided not to wait a "week" to share it. Ready?!

Matthew 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."

So I was reading in Matthew 5, and in verse 13, Jesus talks about us (his followers) being the salt of the earth. Which I thought was kind of a weird reference, but whatever, He's Jesus, so he can say what he likes. So he, being Jesus, goes on to say if we're not salty anymore, we, his followers, get tossed in the street and trampled on. Now, bear with me, because I actually researched/looked-at-one-website-and-was-satisfied-with-their-answer. Let's think about this. From an American standpoint, I'm envisioning Morton table salt and thinking, how am I like that? And I've never had any unsalty salt, did he just make that up? And doesn't that seem a bit extreme to throw us in the street and have us trampled? That's when I decided to stop and research.

After spending entire minutes typing the topic into google and skimming pages, I found this quote from someone that answered a similar question:

"Maundrell, who visited the lake at Jebbul, tells us that he found salt there which had entirely 'lost its savor,' and the same abounds among the debris at Usdum, and in other localities of rocksalt at the south end of the Dead Sea. Indeed, it is a well-known fact that the salt of this country, when in contact with the ground, or exposed to rain and sun, does become insipid and useless. From the manner in which it is gathered, much earth and other impurities are necessarily collected with it. Not a little of it is so impure that it cannot be used at all, and such salt soon effloresces and turns to dust - not to fruitful soil, however. It is not only good for nothing itself, but it actually destroys all fertility wherever it is thrown; and this is the reason why it is cast into the street. There is a sort of verbal verisimilitude in the manner in which our Lord alludes to the act: 'it is cast out' and 'trodden under foot;' so troublesome is this corrupted salt, that it is carefully swept up, carried forth, and thrown into the street. There is no place about the house, yard, or garden where it can be tolerated. No man will allow it to be thrown on to his field, and the only place for it is the street, and there it is cast to be trodden underfoot of men." *

After reading this, my thoughts were as follows.

  1. Maundrell is a such strange name.

  2. Adding the cultural perspective completely changed the meaning of this verse. I guess they did teach me something at that Christian university.

  3. What is a verisimilitude? (something having the appearance or likelihood of truth...just fyi)

  4. Jesus was crazy smart, because the simplicity of the statement can be easily understood, but the complexity of it's meaning can be taken so much further. Poetry really, carefully woven together. To expand further, I'll need another set of bullet points:

  • He complements our importance and usefulness as his followers, by calling us something as essential as salt. Our bodies need salt to operate. One of it's functions is that it's used to transmit information in our nerves and cells. Ready for this? We are the salt of the Earth, one of our functions is to transmit information. Love it.

  • He implies that we are not inherently essential. Salt is something the body cannot produce; we rely solely on food sources for it. The world cannot produce something as essential as Jesus, our Savior. And yet, by grace we have been transformed to something the world desperately needs to have some information transmitted from.

  • He acknowledges our weakness and ability to be comprised. Just as salt can be ruined by overexposure to the elements, so we can lose our connection to God by lifestyle we choose to lead.

  • He shows his role as a protector when he removes salt that has lost it's saltiness and throws it in the street. He keeps his salty salt, if you will, and makes sure that the useless salt does not take life from anything around it. Crazy smart, right?