Among the symbolic types in the law through Moses was the ritual use of salt. “Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings” (Leviticus 2:13).
Before the use of electrical refrigeration, salt was an essential preservative, especially in hot countries where everything spoils very rapidly. Near the Christadelphian farm at Plegt Anker, fishermen want their evening’s catch to be fresh for sale in New Amsterdam market next morning. They soak the fishes in salt water and then lay them on the roof of the farm to catch the night dew. Early the next morning the fishes are rinsed off and are perfectly fresh and ready for sale, in better condition than the fishes caught in the river Berbice close by just an hour or two before.
In addition, salt is a good disinfectant. When God first chose Jerusalem to be His holy city, and Israel to be His people, He said: “On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt…on the day you were born you were despised. Then I passed by and saw you…and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, ‘Live!’”(Ezk. 16:4-6) . I phoned my mother and asked her why you salt a baby when it is just born. She was surprised at my question: Why do you ask? Are you expecting a baby, Abraham ? Oh, no, I assured her. I just want to understand the Bible. Ezekiel tells me that when God saves somebody, He not only washes them in baptism, but He salts them, too. So my mother told me how, in most parts of the world, when babies are born in the home, they are always salted to destroy bacteria. Salting ensures that they do not get infections, and they can begin life as healthy infants.
Symbolically, salt is a wonderful disinfectant. When we are born of water and spirit, God disinfects us from sin so that we can begin our new life as a child of God in a clean and healthy condition, protected from infection.
Salt gives taste to food. People ask me to tell them the secret of our delicious Caribbean cooking. Well, it’s simple. It’s salt. We have a special kind of salt called seasoning salt which imparts a delicious taste to the food. But sometimes the chef finds that his salt has lost its savour. Then it is useless. Salt is good, said the Saviour. But if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again ? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another (Mark 9:50).
What has salt got to do with peace? Much every way. Conflict and division infect any spiritual meal. Peace keeps the body of Christ from corruption and decay. Noah’s salty life preserved mankind from total destruction. So can ours. We were salted when we were born again. So if we have the savour of seasoning salt within us, the food we serve to our spiritual family, and to those around us, will taste good and be health-giving. And we will have peace among ourselves.
You are the salt of the earth. So said Jesus of us his disciples. When the Passover lamb was sacrificed, it was salted with salt. The Passover meal was seasoned with salt. Our Saviour was pure, holy and undefiled. He saw no corruption, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him (Acts 2:31,24). This memorial feast, our Passover, tastes good. It has the “salt of the covenant”, which ensures that God’s promise is sure and long lasting. It will disinfect us from sin and eternal death. It will preserve us to eternal life.