Your water: would you like a tree or salt with that? #water 

I opened my email and the scripture above popped up. I didn’t pay too much attention to it until I flipped open my bible and landed on another picture about the same story, Elijah’s Homegoing, told in the book of Second Kings chapter 2.

Picture is from The Good News translation.

So there we have it, Elijah leaves Elisha in the middle of their conversation. Chariots of fire and horses of fire come to take Elijah away by a whirlwind.

Elisha cried out, “My father! You are gone!” In his grief, Elisha tore his own cloak in two. Then he picked up Elijah’s cloak, which had fallen from him while in the whirlwind.

Elijah had just previously used this cloak strike the water of the Jordan River so that the water divided and they crossed to the other side on dry ground.

Elisha, being grieved, stuck the water with Elijah’s cloak and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?”  Don’t we do this when someone we love dies? Where is God? If He loves me, why did this happen?  Elisha struck the water again, and the water of the Jordan divided, and he walked over to the other side. God proved he was still with Elisha in his grief.

Fifty prophets from Jericho saw this and said, “The power of Elijah is on Elisha!” Elijah had to leave in order for the power to fall on Elisha, as Jesus had to leave to send the power of the Holy Spirit upon His disciples.

The fifty prophets then said, “Let us go and look for your master. Maybe the Lord carried him away, and he is on a mountain somewhere.”

Elisha said, “No, you must not go.” He knew Elijah was gone.  They bugged him until he was ashamed and finally said, “Okay, go ahead.” Persistance on their part. Why was Elisha ashamed? Strongs H954 says this word means disappointed.   He was ashamed of them, disappointed.

So the Fifty went, and looked, but obviously couldn’t find Elijah. After three days, they gave up. Elisha, who was waiting at Jericho said, “I told you not to go.”

[this is the kind of story that I would normally skip over: Fifty Men go looking for Elijah, and don’t find him and come back. Elisha says, “I told you so.” But I’ve learned over the years that the so-called “boring” or “descriptive” parts are not to be skipped over, but we should DIVE INTO THEM, for there is always a nugget of gold. I have not found this one yet, but I am still looking.]

Then some men from Jericho came to Elisha and said, “The water in this city is bad, and causes miscarriages.”

Elisha said, “Put some salt in a new bowl and bring it to me.” They did. Elisha went to the spring, threw the salt into the water, and said, “this is what the Lord says, ‘I make this water pure, and it will not cause any more deaths or miscarriages.’”

So the Lord led Elisha to put SALT into the water to purify it.

There’s another story in the bible of bad water. In Exodus Chapter 15, Moses and the Israelites, while on their journey in the desert, came to the waters of Marah, but they could not drink the water because it was bitter. So the people complained to Moses, “What shall we drink?” (Picture it: dry, hot, desert, thirsty people, they rejoice to find water to have their hopes dashed by discovering that the water is undrinkable. This is where we usually STOP. It’s a bad situation, so let’s complain because, you know, that always makes things better?!)

So Moses cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree, and Moses threw it into the water, and the water was made sweet.

Then the Lord told them, “If you diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will not afflict you with any of the diseases with which I have afflicted the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”


So here we have two stories of polluted water being made clean, one by salt and the other by having a tree thrown into it.

One thing I notice about this comparison:  Every situation in life is different. There are different answers to problems. Just because it worked in the past does not mean it will work now. This is why we need to seek God’s wisdom for our particular, distinct problem.




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