2 Kings 2:19 Then the men of the city said to Elisha, “Behold now, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad and the land is unfruitful.”
This scripture has always fascinated me. The men communicate to Elisha that their city is a pleasant situation – with a very significant ‘but’. There are a few little problems: the water is bad, the land won’t bear crops and the animals can’t reproduce. But it is a pleasant situation! It looks good from a distance – and don’t ask too many questions.
Fortunately for that city, Elisha receives a miracle from the Lord for them. He asks them to bring him a new bowl and to put salt in it. He then goes to the spring and throws the salt in it saying, “This is what the LORD says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’” No more death from the water. The situation became a whole lot more pleasant.
Many of today’s Christians seem to have a lot in common with the men of that city. They consider their Christianity to be ‘a pleasant situation’, but there are a whole lot of problems that don’t seem to go away. Unfortunately they don’t recognize that the source of these problems is their very lives and the way they live them.
It’s like Christianity looks good from afar, just don’t get too close and ask too many personal questions. Putting it in the context of today’s verse, it’s like they were hoping that becoming a Christian was the equivalent of having ‘salt’ thrown in their spring. The natural results would be wholesomeness and productivity.
We are made new when we are born again and God so remarkably transforms our very lives. But here is where the ‘roads diverge in the woods’. One road leads to a lifestyle of adding Jesus to the stuff we’ve been doing. Sort of, God threw ‘salt’ in our lives; we’re grateful; and we go about our business. Our lives might produce ‘fruit’ but much of it is unrighteous fruit that has a lot of sourness and bitterness in it – similar to the culture around us.
The other road is where the Lord says to us, “I have a way and I want you to walk in it – along with Me.” He has given us His word and His Spirit to enable us to learn His ways and walk in them with Him. This road leads to passion for the Lord and the fruit is His righteousness in every area of our lives. It doesn’t mean we won’t have problems, but faith and godliness will characterize us and how we deal with them. It is a faith-process requiring our continual commitment and adherence to His word. People will see Jesus when they see us. It’s called loving God – and it is the only appropriate response to His loving us.