Located in the west end of Wright Valley (South Fork), Victoria Land, Antarctica – about 6 miles west from Lake Vanda is one of the most remarkable bodies of water on earth.
It’s called Don Juan Pond, and it has the distinction of never freezing – despite the fact that surface temperatures in the area drop to less than 100 degrees below zero (F). How do its waters keep from freezing in the coldest place on the planet? Its waters are very salty. In fact, Don Juan Pond has a salinity level of 40%, making its 18 times more saline than the ocean and 1.3 times more saline than the Dead Sea. They are the saltiest waters of any body of water on earth.
In the Scripture Jesus admonished us, “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another” (Mark 9:49). What did He mean by this? In the context of Mark chapter nine, Jesus had been speaking of the fires of divine judgment (Mark 9:42-48). But pertaining to His disciples, Jesus is speaking of the fires of temptation, persecution, and purification. All of His disciples, Jesus said, will be “salted with fire” – perhaps a reference to the Levitical sacrifices which were be seasoned with salt before being placed upon the altar. For Jesus’ disciples are also called to present themselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1). But for this “fiery affliction” to do us good rather than harm, we must have salt in ourselves – i.e. we must have that divine grace and presence of the Holy Spirit to keep our spirits fresh, our hearts soft, and our love flowing. We must bond and be at peace with our fellow believers. In other words, we must exercise the spiritual disciplines of Christianity to ensure a steady flow of God’s grace into our hearts. It’s the only way we can survive the fiery trials that await us.
Or, one might say, it’s the only way to avoid growing cold in the deep freeze of sin. For Jesus had described the last days in these terms, “and because lawlessness will increase, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). We must have the salt of divine grace and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts so that we, like that salty pond in Antarctica, can keep from freezing over in this cold, sinful world.
So feed upon God’s holy word, the Bible (Colossians 3:16). Drink of His Holy Spirit through times of prayer and worship (Ephesians 5:18). Bond together with fellow believers by joining them for worship and fellowship (Hebrews 10:25). So whether you face the fires of affliction or the deep freeze of sin, you will not perish but thrive.
Dear Father in heaven, create in me a hunger for Your holy word, a thirst for Your Holy Spirit, and a yearning to fellowship with Your children. Make me salty with Your grace so that I will be ready for the altar of sacrifice or for the coldness of this sinful world. Amen.
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