Jesus shares the parable of salt with those listening. Because of the structure of Luke’s narrative I don’t know if we are addressing the same crowd of followers or not. Jesus’ words fit best to those who are His followers though instead of His detractors.
Jesus used a very similar parable in Matthew 5, which we looked at much earlier. Feel free to look back at the blog titled “Salt and Light.” We focused a lot on how salt becomes unusable because of contamination. Today’s parable introduces two different uses for salt that I had never known before. These uses are very interesting and drive the topic of our discussion.
Jesus says that when salt has lost its taste, “it is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile” (verse 35). I had no idea that salt was good for soil or manure, but apparently it is. Doing a little research I found that if you salt the manure pile it retains more of the minerals that are beneficial as fertilizer. If you salt your fields lightly it is beneficial, especially to beetroot plants. Also salt can be used in larger quantities to kill weeds, but after a time they come back stronger in the salted area. I found this information in a gardening site and an excerpt from a farming magazine .
I also learned about how salt is made in the Mediterranean area, which is where Jesus lived. They harvested salt from the sea, especially the Dead Sea, and dried it in the sun. I found this on a science website on how salt is made. Which brings me to my final investigative question; how can salt lose its flavor? I looked for this while writing the blog on the sister parable, but didn’t find the site Ask a Scientist before.
Because the salt that is harvested from the sea is not pure salt, but mixed with other elements, it is possible for it to lose its flavor. Sodium chloride in its pure form does not lose its flavor, but this impure salt, when exposed to moisture, lets the sodium chloride in the mixture dissolve and leaves only the base minerals which have no salty taste. This is the salt and the process Jesus uses in His parable. The watered down salt that is no longer good for anything.
God’s word and our witness are the salt Jesus is referencing. When we water down these they are useless. In fact, this watered down version often does more harm than good. How many times have you heard someone say, “If that’s how a Christian behaves, I want nothing to do with it.” Or how about when someone uses the bible as a club instead of lovingly bringing someone to the truth. These two behaviors drive people away from God and the saving grace He has for each of us. That’s worse than no witness at all. Jesus says that this kind of witness is good for nothing and should be thrown out. I NEVER want to hear that from Jesus about my life!
Father God, please protect my witness. Don’t let me lose my “flavor.” Preserve me through the right application of Your word in my life. Salt is essential for life, just as Your word is essential for my spiritual life. Without You is only death. I NEED Your life! Help me always to share Your flavor.