During the summer months, my son and I went to the Oregon coast to escape the suffocating heat of the city. As per usual, we headed toward Seaside, one of our favorite Oregon beaches. The narrow streets and open beaches of the little coastal city were packed with people making it look much more like a Californian beach. The parking spaces were few and far between, so we headed south and randomly Jeremy said, turn right and there was a parking space seemingly reserved just for us. We would be entering the beach much further south than usual on a new and different trail.
With the sun shining brightly and very warmly above, we took the narrow sandy path heading to the water’s edge. With my eyes focused on the deep, blue Pacific, I nearly tripped over a small sign posted on a stake in the middle of the trail, You have entered 1806 and I am wondering 1806 what? We had literally stumbled upon The Lewis and Clark Salt Makers Return to Seaside, Oregon,an annual event, taking place one weekend in July and a second weekend in August. God had surprised us again!
Those facilitating the 2003 Salt Makers site were dressed in costumes as per the era and were actually making salt as was done by the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1806. It was delightful to hear their tales of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the need to make 3.5 bushels of salt from 1400 gallons of seawater for the trip home in the spring as soon as the weather cleared.
How does one make salt? That was my single focus and question. A young man, posing as George Shannon, answered my question fully. The process is as follows: A yoke is placed across the shoulders of a strong man and wood buckets are hung on each side of the yoke. Walking across the sand to the waves, he then fills the buckets to the brim and returns to the campsite where his four comrades are tending fires. The filled buckets are left to “rest for a few hours while the sediment settles.” Then they are placed over the fire and the ocean water is brought to a full boil. When about half of the water has been boiled out, more water is added to fill the buckets to the brim again. This process is repeated 5-7 times. When the last boiling brings the ocean water to a salty mush it is then smoothed out on tree bark or a log to bake in the hot sun or near the fire, whichever heat source is more readily available. After it is baked and completely dried, it is chiseled and broken apart and then ground into fine salt powder for baking use.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:13, “As for you, you are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its pungency, by what means can its saltiness be restored? For not even one thing is it of use any longer, except, having been thrown out, to be trampled under foot by men. A city is not able to be hidden, situated on top of a mountain. Neither do they light a lamp and place it under the bushel but upon the lamp stand, and it gives light to all those who are in the house. In the same manner, let your light shine before men in order that they may see your good works and in order that they may glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Wuest Translation)
There is new scientific research, now available for over a year or so, demonstrating that salt can hold light and can even slow down the speed of light. As the salt releases the light then the salt can hold more light. The light must be released in order for the light to increase. JESUS knew. HE is the most brilliant scientist of all!
My understanding of the parable of the Salt Maker is that JESUS is the one with the yoke and the two buckets. HE is the one tending the fire. HE is the one adding more water (the Word of GOD and the Holy Spirit) as we are being prepared to be HIS salt. HE is the one putting us in the sun (SON) to bake until there is really nothing left of us but HIS residue. HE is the one chiseling us and grinding us to be someone of taste, someone that adds flavor, and someone that preserves HIS name and HIS glory.
Salt that is of worth, and salt that is not of worth, looks identical to the human eye. It is the tasting of the salt that makes the difference. Have we allowed HIM to make us into salt that adds flavor – shall we say, enhances the lives of others or are we the kind of salt that HE will throw out and then be trampled under the feet of men?
It is similar to the parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Matthew 13). Tares are not weeds per se; they are defined as false grain. Tares and wheat look exactly the same until the time of harvest. Satan sows tares into the world. Hopefully and prayerfully tares are in the world and not in the body of Christ. It is the fruit of the wheat and the fruit of the tares that JESUS will be looking at when HE comes again. It is the fruit in others’ lives that we might use as a means of knowing the truth in their heart.
I Corinthians 13 is an excellent measuring standard of the fruit in someone’s life. Any baptized, Holy Spirit filled believer of JESUS CHRIST will have the evidence of GOD’s love within them. The important questions are: Are they kind or mean? Are they generous or stingy? Are they merciful or unmerciful? Are they patient or demanding? Are they trustworthy or a betrayer? Are they truthful or a liar? Are they self-controlled or out of control? Are they gracious or angry? Are they critical or constructive? Are they deceitful or do they have pure motives? Do they embrace lies or pursue truth? Are they givers or takers? Are they peaceful or agitated? Do they reflect the characteristics of JESUS CHRIST? It is not about judgment. It is about wisdom from above. HIS Scriptures contain much wisdom that is applicable to our lives daily.
The following are some of the uses of salt in the Scriptures: 1. Season food (Job 6.6) 2. Mixed with the fodder of cattle (Isaiah 30:34) 3. All meat offerings were seasoned with salt as a symbol of the holiness of Christ and the reconciliation provided for man (Leviticus 2:13) 4. The custom of eating salt – to eat salt with one is to partake of his hospitality, to derive sustenance from him and therefore he who did so was bound to look after his host’s interest. This is a common custom in the Arab world today. As believer’s we eat the salt from the King’s palace so we are bound to look after HIS interests, including the earth, HIS people, HIS creation, HIS Kingdom (Ezra 4:14) 5. A covenant of salt was a covenant of perpetual (could not be absolved) obligation for the heave offerings (Numbers 18:19 and 2 Chronicles 13:5) 6. Newborn children were rubbed with salt (Ezekiel 16:4) When we become new in Christ is when we become HIS salt that becomes the flavor of the earth. 7. A curse by Ambilech who sowed the city of Shechem with salt that it would always remain barren soil (Judges 9:45) 8. Healing of Waters by Elisha – a blessing to the land and the people – reversing the curse of Ambliech (2 Kings 2:20-21) Do you curse the land like Ambilech did or do you bless the land like Elisha? 9. Symbolic of spiritual health essential to Christian virtue and counteractive to the corruption in the world (Mark 9:50) 10. To fertilize the soil. Excess produces sterility in the soil (Deuteronomy 29:23, Judges 9:45, Jeremiah 17:6 and Zephaniah 2:9)
Have you asked JESUS to make you HIS salt of the earth?
Have you ever wondered if it is possible to be a Salt Block for JESUS?