Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! [Psalm 34:8 (NLT)]
There is a West African fruit called the “taste berry” or “miracle fruit” that can make lemons, limes, mustard, Brussels sprouts, pickles and even vinegar taste sweet. This almost tasteless berry, the Synsepalum dulcificum, is the color of a cranberry and about the size of an almond. A protein in it temporarily binds to taste buds on the tongue and causes sour or bitter food to taste sweet. There are even “flavor tripping parties” where, for a fee, people get a berry and a chance to experience its flavor-changing properties while enjoying a strange buffet of foods like sauerkraut, radishes, grapefruit, cheap tequila, goat cheese, stout beer, and Tabasco sauce. When I read first-hand accounts of these parties, the tasters were all hesitant at first. They would start with a bit of lemon or lime before sipping vinegar; finally, they’d throw caution to the wind and put hot sauce on their tongues. Unfortunately, they also reported some after-effects the next day including stomach aches and mouth ulcers. While the berry neutralizes the flavor in the mouth, the food is still acidic as it goes down. It might be wise to include a dose of Tums when testing the properties of this interesting fruit.
Wouldn’t you like to have something that would make everything that was sour or bitter in our lives seem, if not exactly sweet, at least palatable? Well, we do—our faith! Jesus transformed plain water into vintage wine and that was just the beginning. He can turn our sorrow into joy, our bitterness into contentment, our resentment into kindness, and our rage into peace. If only people would give Him a try, if only they would taste and see the goodness of the Lord, if only they would experience the power of the Holy Spirit, they might experience the true sweetness of life. While folks seem quite willing to fork over money to attend a flavor tripping party or to purchase berry tablets, the miracle berry’s effect lasts for only a few hours at most. There’s no admission fee in Christianity, Jesus doesn’t leave you with a sour stomach in the morning and His effect can last more than a lifetime!
The religion of Jesus Christ is not ascetic, nor sour, nor gloomy, nor circumscribing. It is full of sweetness in the present and in promise. [Henry Ward Beecher]