17 Jan. Matthew 5:13

17 Jan. Dead Sea salt brings life!

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its salty taste, it cannot be made salty again."

          (Matthew 5:13)



In Matthew 5:13, Jesus continued his 'Sermon on the Mount' with this remarkable observation:
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses it's salty taste, it cannot be made salty again. It is good for nothing, except to be thrown out and walked on".

In the ancient world where there was no refrigeration, treating food with salt was the only way of preserving it for any length of time. Salt was literally a life-saver (because it killed off all the decomposing bacteria), so it was an expensive and sought-after commodity.

In the Roman world of Jesus's day, salt was almost as precious as gold! Well-disciplined and efficient Roman soldiers were said to be "worth their salt" as Roman soldiers were paid their wages in salt rations as well as in gold coins.

Salt was highly valued in Galilee as a preservative as well as for flavouring. The Galilean fishing industry (which several of Jesus's close followers were involved in) relied on salt from the Dead Sea in order to send salted fish to markets throughout Judea.

The Dead Sea lies on the floor of the Jordan Valley. At 1378 feet / 420 metres below sea level, it's the lowest point on earth. The water in the Dead Sea is very salty because rivers, primarily the River Jordan, carry dissolved salts into the Dead Sea but there is no outlet. Consequently, as the water begins to evaporate due to the high temperatures, what liquid remains becomes exceptionally salty.

The "salt that loses it's saltiness" may well refer to the salt-making process. On the southern shore of the Dead Sea, the salty water was completely evaporated in salt pans, while the remaining salty deposits were shovelled into heaps or ‘pillars’ of salt in order to dry (see Genesis 19:26). Because of impurities and chemical changes, the outer layer of the salt had to be discarded because it had lost much of its salty taste. So it was worthless and thrown away.

Jesus said his followers were "the salt of the earth". They could preserve life and bring new life to other people. But if they lost their 'saltiness', they became worthless and no good to anyone.

So which kind of 'salt' are YOU? Are you "worth your salt" as a "soldier of Christ"?

The photo shows the south-western corner of the Dead Sea near Masada.

You can read more from Jesus's 'Sermon on the Mount'  @ The Bible Journey | Jesus's teachings on a hillside

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