Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Elisha: Barren or Healing?

And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren.
And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him.
And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.
So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.

2 Kings 2:19-22
The chapter we read tonight had to do with Elisha healing the barren spring of Jericho. The people had to travel far each day to gather water from the Jordan because the spring that was outside of their own city gate was no good. I so very much enjoyed how Mrs. Walton drew the parallel from the barren spring to our own self-loving hearts and the healed waters to those who seek to use their lives in service to bless and encourage others to grow in Christ.

May I quote directly from the book?

"And in that spring we have a picture, a double picture. We can see in it, if we will look, a very good representation of a great many people’s lives.

The lives of some are like that stream before Elisha visited it: going on through this world of sin and sorrow and misery, and yet doing no good to anyone, carrying misery and spiritual barrenness wherever they go. They are living for self, and they have no care for those around them, they bring unpleasantness and not comfort into the hearts of others. Their example is evil and not good; their influence is on the side of this present evil world, with all its sinful and God-forgetting ways.

But the lives of others are strangely and wonderfully different. They resemble Elisha’s stream, not as it was in the days of its barrenness, but as it was after the prophet visited it. They are like Elisha’s stream at the present day. They carry joy and comfort and refreshment wherever they go. They are a blessing to everyone. They cheer all within their reach. They bring ease to the weary, encourage the weak-hearted, and visit the lonely. Wherever they go, they are a quiet power for good, a source of goodness and joy, a lovely stream causing an oasis in the desert life around them.

Let us ask ourselves, Which life is mine? Am I like the stream as it was in its barren days, a useless one in God’s world, bringing no joy or gladness to those around me, the aid of spiritual life and fruitfulness to no one, or am I like the lovely beautiful stream — a helper of many, a blessing in the world? Thank God that just as the Jericho stream by the power of God was changed in its nature, so can our lives be changed.

Elisha gives us the recipe for changing a useless, harmful life into a useful and blessed one. It is the same recipe which the Master gives us in Mark 9:50, where He bids us, "Have salt in yourselves." The salt, put upon the waters of Elisha’s spring, entirely changed its character, and the purifying grace of God can change my life from being an empty, frivolous, useless, mischievous life to being one which will be a blessing to all around me, because of its utter unselfishness.

But one thing we must carefully notice, and that is the place in which Elisha put the salt upon the water. He did not cast it on the waters of the stream half a mile or a mile from the spring. He was careful to go to the source and to cast it on the water at the very spot from which it came bubbling out of the rock. So the Lord would have me learn that if my life is to be different, me heart must be different. If I am to live a changed life, it must be because the source, my innermost heart, has first been changed by the grace of God."

Elisha: God’s Messenger of Grace, by Mrs. O.F. Walton, available from BibleTruthPublishers.com

(Originally published @ homesteadblogger.com/butterandhoney)

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