After receiving a touch from God, Elisha went forward with his own faith, and his first stop was Jericho (2 Kings 2:15). The college of fifty prophets meeting there immediately recognized God’s touch on him, saying, “The same spirit that was on Elijah is now on Elisha.” It was obvious to all that this hidden servant was moving in a deeper power and authority of the Spirit.
The young prophets told Elisha, “The situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is [bad], and the ground barren” (2:19). They were saying, “There’s poison in the water, and it’s killing everything.” Yet, apparently these fifty men of God were powerless to stop the poison from bringing death to Jericho.
According to Isaiah, this “pleasant place” represents the ministry: “The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant” (Isaiah 5:7). Also, water here represents the word of God.
Do you see the picture? The poisoned waters of Jericho signify the polluted word being preached from the town’s pulpits. These men of God had never dealt with their own sins, so their sermons were full of poison from corrupted hearts. And their lifeless, flesh-oriented lectures were causing spiritual death among the people.
What was the cure for the poison in Jericho? It was to purify the water supply—and that is just what Elisha did. He took a clean vessel, filled it full of salt, and poured it into the fountainhead of the city’s water. Soon all the waters were cleansed, and life sprang up all around.
Of course, the salt Elisha used represents the gospel of purity and holiness. And the clean vessel he used represents ministers who have been cleansed by Christ's blood and sanctified by the Spirit’s purifying fire, prepared to preach a pure gospel. Beloved, clean, pure vessels who walk in holiness and preach a pure word with fresh anointing can stem the evil tide in God’s house.