By Wendell Elms
There are many idioms and proverbs that illustrate truths+ We use them almost every day. I read in the history of proverbs that such sayings give richness to language and, to some extent, define a culture. One such proverb we have all used at one time or another is “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink:’ This proverb is very old. It was recorded as early as 1175 in Old English Homilies. This saying encapsulates the truth that you can show a person, or people, the way, but if they don’t want to go that way, they won’t. One writer explained it to simply mean, “People do what they want to do:’ I tend to agree.
Let’s look closer to this proverb. Leading the horse to water is easy enough, but getting it to drink seemingly is an impossible task. You’re not strong enough force its nose into the water. You can’t spoon feed it, or pump water into it. So how can I possibly get the horse to drink? Can I not make it drink? No! This proverb is right, however, there is something I can do to create a thirst within the horse. The farmers had an interesting answer: If you want to make the horse drink, put a little salt in the oats! Though you cannot physically force the horse to drink the water, in an indirect way you can create within it a thirst. The rest is history.
This simple proverb illustrates truth in many ways. One such way is in that of winning people to God. I know we are vastly different people compared to the world, but it is the Lord’s desire to draw people to Him. He does so by placing living examples of His people around them who have been redeemed and are vibrantly serving Him.
Jesus gives us a key to overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to reach our world. He wants us to put a little salt in the oats! God asked us to be the salt of the earth. (Matt 5:13) The sole purpose of salt, when applied correctly, is to enhance flavor. It is also a preserving agent—a thought for another day. It’s interesting to note that salt is on every dinner table. We can hardly live without it.
Being aware of the nearness of God, Bible reading, Prayer, fellowship, and faithfulness create that “salt” within us.
When we love God, follow and obey Him, the salt appears. For instance, in Acts 4, the leaders took note that the disciples had been with Jesus. What they saw, heard, and felt was the salt. The developing of godliness, righteousness, and holiness in our life will enhance our living. Loving people, caring for people, being compassionate, helping others, being friendly, smiling a lot, being openly thankful, and letting God flow through our spirits, are just some of the ways of the salt.
By these things people see how happy we are and how wonderful it is to serve the Lord. It, in turn, makes them want to drink of this (everlasting) water. “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture bath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive” ( John 7:37-39).
Something Jesus said to the woman at the well (John 4) caused her to want the water He could give, and she couldn’t wait to tell others about it.
When we see the wonderful life we’ve been given, the divine protection and sustenance freely provided by our great God, and how happy we are. When others see it, it creates a thirst within their empty soul. They may not understand why we are the way we are, but they do know we’ve found something real.
John put it all into a nutshell for us when he wrote (13:35) “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” That’s the picture of the salt at work!
To be baptized in His name, filled with His Spirit, and to daily walk with Him produces within us this saltiness that makes people know we serve Jesus Christ. Isaiah saw something prophetically wonderful coming and wrote, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3).
God bless you as you salt the world around you. Others watch you constantly and it is making them thirsty for what you have. Maybe they will come to drink at His well today.