Last Tuesday, in The Salt Mine, Part 1, we were introduced to the **Wieliczka Salt Mine on the outskirts Krakow in Poland. We saw from its magnificent tunnels and caverns how God works within our hearts to “mine” out the dross, seeking the precious minerals and stones, and carving out a “cathedral”–a “Heart-temple”–for Him to reside.
In case that introduction to these one-of-a-kind mine tunnels sparked your interest, here are a few more interesting facts about the Wieliczka Salt Mine. It were built in the 13th century, and it continuously produced table salt until 2007 as one of the world’s oldest salt mines still in operation. Although it is closed to mining today, this is not due to the fact that all the salt has already been mined. On the contrary, despite the centuries of continuous mining, there is no lack of the substance beneath the town of Wieliczka. It is the flooding of the mine’s lower levels, coupled with the low price of salt that is listed as the major reasons for closure. The funds required to keep the briny waters at bay were simply greater than the profit from the sales.
As mentioned in The Salt Mine Part 1, the flooded lower levels is one of the reasons visitors can only tour about 2% of the length of the mine’s passages (despite the fact that the tour lasts 2 hours and covers 3.5 kilometers!). In fact, it is necessary to continually be pumping out the briny waters from the other levels as well so that they will not overtake the entire mine.
This fact really grabbed my attention. Something as lucrative as this mine has been through the centuries was brought to a halt by–flood waters! It made me think of our heart-temples, the giant cathedrals that God is carving beneath the surface of each of our hearts. Can His work in our hearts also be brought to a screeching halt? Is there “briny water” that can keep His Spirit from continuing His good work of cleansing us of our “dross”, of finding the hidden gems of love and peace and joy in the depths of our souls? Are there things that can stop us from moving forward as His vessels? From doing Jesus’ final command to spread the good news of Jesus Christ?
Unfortunately, there are. Although God does the “mining” of our hearts, we also have three major responsibilities in the Heart-temple-building process, and when we don’t take these responsibilities seriously, we can see the “mining” of our hearts coming to a complete halt.
First of all, God will not force Himself upon us. Revelation tells us, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Rev. 3:20). Our job, then, is to desire that God do His excellent “mining” work, to clean the dross out of our hearts, to find the jewels and precious metals, and to carve out a beautiful cathedral for His presence. We must open the door of our hearts to Him.
The Bible is also clear about what happens to uninhabited hearts: “When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-26). Thus, our second responsibility is to desire that this heart-temple God is building be filled with His Spirit, for if it is not, then the “briny waters” of the dross that has been mined out of our hearts will return and fill us up to the point that there is no longer any way for God to continue to mine our hearts.
Finally, we need to be ever on the alert: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9). In other words, when we see that “briny water” is trying to seep in, we need to resist it. We need to get out the water pumps of God’s Spirit, while ever standing firm in our faith that God will prevail.
Please join us on Saturday for “The Salt Mine, Part 3: The Sculputres” for the last lesson to be learned from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
**All information about the Wieliczka Salt mine comes from personal tour and from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wieliczka_Salt_Mine
(To access the entire “Salt Mine” mini-series, please click here.)