“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” - Matthew 5:13 NKJV
Have you ever wondered about this text? Salt tastes salty, and it cannot taste anything but salty. So how can it lose its savor, or salty flavor?
When Jesus walked the countryside in Palestine, people collected salt from the marshes surrounding the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. As the salt-filled water of these bodies of water evaporated, a residue of salt collected on the marsh plants. The people gathered the crust and took it home to use on their food.
The salt had many impurities mixed with it. And here is where we find the answer to what Jesus meant in the text above. As long as you had plenty of salt, you wouldn’t notice the impurities. But when you left salt in an open container, it absorbed the moisture in the air, ruining its flavor as it became a sticky mess.
The people of Jesus’ time kept their containers of salt out in the air for a long time. Naturally the salt picked up moisture. Because many of the impurities were also white, there was no way to tell by looking at it whether the salt would still have a taste or not. There were no chemists to separate the real salt from the white impurities, so people assumed that after a while the salt lost its taste. And when that happened, they threw the remaining “salt” (actually the impurities) out onto the footpaths.
So Jesus meant exactly what He said in our text. People who look like Christians by all outward appearances may only be a collection of impurities. Jesus gives us the essence that makes us the salt of the earth. By staying close to Him, we won’t lose that savor.
Nature Quest – James & Priscilla Tucker