Now the men of the city said to Elisha, “Behold, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees, but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful.” He said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went to the spring of water and threw salt in it and said, “Thus says the Lord, I have healed this water; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.” So the water has been healed to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke. II Kings 2:19-22 ESV
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14 ESV
Do you ever go camping? Sometimes when people are camping or backpacking, they run out of safe water to drink. They might need to use the water from a lake or a river, and this water isn’t always safe or healthy. It often has germs in it that can cause serious illness. One thing a camper or a hiker can do to make the water safe to drink is to add water purification tablets. These tablets usually have iodine and sometimes other chemicals in them to kill the germs in the water and make it safe to use. Water purification tablets make the water pure and healthy.
The men of the city of Jericho, where Elisha was staying, told him about their problem. The water that they used to supply their city was bad. It was causing animals and women to lose their babies before they were ready to be born, and perhaps some of the people who drank the water also got sick and died from it. So Elisha threw a bowl of salt into the spring of water. The salt didn’t necessarily have any chemicals to treat the water, but instead God worked through this to cause a miracle to happen. The spring of water became pure and healthy. People didn’t get sick and die anymore when they drank the water, and women and animals didn’t lose their babies anymore. God used this miracle to show that Elisha was his prophet, and that his teaching would also bring life and health to the people.
We were all sick with sin and death, and God sent Jesus to purify and heal us. He didn’t use salt, but instead he used his own blood. Jesus died on the cross to take our sins away, and he sends us his Holy Spirit to help us live God’s ways. He leads us away from sin and the ways of life that cause death, and instead helps us follow the ways of life. He will someday bring us into a new world and a life with him that lasts forever.
Dear Jesus, thank you for bringing us healing and life, and making us pure to be your people. Amen.