This might look like a scene from another world: beautiful, yet eerie, not quite right...

It is actually the Nullarbor Plain salt flats in Australia. 

Man has a fascination with salt.  Check out this video of the Hotel Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. 

Salt is a mineral substance mostly composed of sodium chloride.  It's natural form is a crystalline mineral known as rock salt.

We probably first think of salt for adding flavor to food, as in Job 6:6

Can something tasteless be eaten without salt,
Or is there any taste in the white of an egg?

But there is much more to salt.  Salt has been used throughout history in both times of war and peace. 

If you just fought a people and wanted to keep them from recovering, you would salt the earth to prevent plants from coming back.  If they could not grow crops, their numbers would stay low.

In peace, while canning and refrigeration have been used to preserve food for the last hundred years plus or minus, salt has been used for thousands of years before that.

Salt was used as payment (salary is based on the word salt).  Salt was also used to seal agreements.  Here are some verses from the Old Testament that show salt being used in covenants:

Leviticus 2:13

Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.

Numbers 18:19

All the offerings of the holy gifts, which the sons of Israel offer to the Lord, I have given to you and your sons and your daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord to you and your descendants with you.”

2 Chronicles 13:5

 Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the rule over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt?

Sodium chloride will not lose its saltiness or taste, even after being stored for years on end, and yet Matthew 5:13 says:

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

Could Jesus have had direct experience with salt that could lose its saltiness?

Historically, salt has been obtained from crude sources, such as rock salt.  This contains impurities, it isn't just sodium chloride, but other minerals come along for the ride.  Sodium chloride is water-soluble, so if it is exposed to water or just condensation, the sodium chloride can be dissolved and the salt impurities would remain.  It would look like salt, but have no flavor anymore. 

We need to make sure that we don't just have the appearance of Christians, with only the impurities remaining, without the faith that drives us.

Mark 9:50b

Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.

© Vivian P. Kirkpatrick, 2015