What’s Up with Hyssop?

Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning.

  • Exodus 12:22

He is then to take the live bird and dip it, together with the cedar wood, the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, into the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water.

  • Leviticus 14:6

Then a man who is ceremonially clean is to take some hyssop, dip it in the water and sprinkle the tent and all the furnishings and the people who were there. He must also sprinkle anyone who has touched a human bone or a grave or anyone who has been killed or anyone who has died a natural death.

  • Numbers 19:18

He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish.

  • 1 Kings 4:33

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

  • Psalm 51:7

A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssopplant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.

  • John 19:29

So, from these Scriptures, we go from preparing for the Passover to cleansing from defiling skin diseases to cleansing a tent after someone in the tent has died to using hyssop to cleansing oneself to Jesus being given wine vinegar when he was thirsty, raised to his lips on a sponge and using a stalk of hyssop.

The common ground is hyssop.  Even today, hyssop is thought to have properties of an antiseptic, a cough reliever, and an expectorant.

But the day before I started writing this, I had a dream.  In the dream, I met three men and we were becoming friends.  I had no idea who they were and only one of them looked vaguely familiar.  Then they said that they came from three different steel mills, and they needed my help on an undisclosed new venture.  The one that looked familiar said that he was from a mill where I have taught many classes.  The second said that he came from a mill where I had only taught once.  I have probably taught around 3,000 people at steel mills around the world.  If I taught there once, it is quite logical that I would not remember his face.  And the third person simply said, “Hyssop.”  I thought I heard him incorrectly, so I asked him to repeat that, and he smiled and said the same thing. “Hyssop.”

I woke up at that point and before I could go back to sleep my wife talked about calling the dialysis center.  She had been up most of the night with diarrhea and she could not go to the center.  She wanted me to know so that I could turn off my alarm.

I nearly laughed.  My night’s sleep is almost always over once I start talking to someone.  My night’s sleep is almost always over when I turn on a light and do something, especially if I must get my glasses on and focus.  My thought was that this was not going to be a great night, but the dream about the guy who claimed to know me, but all he would do was to say he was from “hyssop” bothered me.  Maybe I did not want to return to sleep.  When I had so many reasons to stay awake, the next thing that I knew, it was six hours later, closer to lunchtime than the point when the alarm would have gone off.  And my wife was still going to the toilet.  It was a good thing that she called off from dialysis, although the clinic had phone issues and never got her message.

So, the only place that I had ever heard of hyssop was the Bible. In most of the uses of hyssop, it comes down to cleansing.  There are twelve times that hyssop is mentioned in the Bible, five times in Leviticus 14 alone, in creating something to place on defiling skin diseases.

I think the property of hyssop that has been proven by modern science that applies to most of these Biblical references is that of an antiseptic, in cleaning the wound.

So, what I have left to do today, the day I wrote this, is to figure out what in my life needs that third person, the hyssop, what needs cleansing?

God speaks to us in many ways, and sometimes there is a riddle or mystery involved.  When I first heard the third person in the dream saying “hyssop” I thought of steel mills that might sound like hyssop.  There may be some, but it was not my hearing a word incorrectly when he repeated the word clearly.  I really heard “hyssop.”

So, now I turn to God in prayer.  What needs cleansing?

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.


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  1. I look forward to a follow-up post with some answers. J.

    Liked by 1 person

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