Only One Action Will Quench Your Thirst

The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 93

The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

–Ecclesiastes 12:11-12 (ESV)

The fire is what warms us, not the philosophy of fire. We may have a firm grasp on the chemistry of combustion and the physics of heat. But it is not this knowledge that warms us, it is the fire itself. It is the same with the order of God. It is his will that works holiness into our souls, not curious speculation about how and why it works. If we are thirsty, we must drink. We must put down our books about drinking, and we must drink. Intellectual curiosity at this point will only increase our actual thirst.

–Jean Pierre de Caussade

The image that Jean Pierre de Caussade has provided here is so effective that it needs no elaboration. Simply picture a thirsty man reading a book about drinking while a glass of cold water sits on the table in front of him. Reflect on this image often, especially if you are given to intellectual curiosity, for this is a mixed blessing.

Now, curiosity itself is always good, and only increases with holiness. The danger is in feeding the mind at the expense of the spirit. In the pursuit of knowledge there is always another book that seems to offer the key of understanding that you lack. And you may indeed learn something significant from that book. But there will always be other books, promising to fill the ever-increasing holes in your knowledge. One by one, such books can lead you away from simply experiencing God’s holiness in the here and now.


The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.