Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ephrem on God's Inexhaustible Word

Who is capable of comprehending the immensity of possibilities of one of your [God's] utterances? What we leave behind us in your utterance is far greater than what we take from it, like those who are thirsting, when they imbibe from a fountain. Many are the perspectives of his word, just as many are the perspectives of those who study it. God has fashioned his word with many beautiful forms, so that each one who studies it may consider what he likes. He has hidden in his word all kinds of treasures so that each one of us, wherever we meditate, may be enriched by it. His utterance is a tree of life, which offers you blessed fruit from every side. It is like that rock which burst forth in the desert, becoming spiritual drink to everyone from all places. They ate spiritual food and drank spiritual drink (1 Cor 10:3-4).

Therefore, whoever encounters one of its riches must not think that that alone which he has found is all that is in it, but rather that it is this alone that he is capable of finding from the many things in it. Enriched by it, let him not think that he has impoverished it. But rather let him give thanks for its greatness, he that is unequal to it. Rejoice that you have been satiated, and do not be upset that it is richer than you. The thirsty one rejoices because he can drink, but is not upset because he is unable to render the source dry. The well can conquer your thirst, but your thirst cannot conquer the fountain. If your thirst is satiated, without the fountain running short, whenever you are thirsty, you can drink again. But if, through your being satiated, the fountain were rendered dry, your victory would be unto your misfortune. Give thanks for what you have taken away, and do not murmur over what remains and is in excess. That which you have taken and gone away with is your portion and that which is left over is also your heritage. That which you were not able to receive there and then because of your weakness, receive it at another time by means of your perseverance. And do not, in your impudence, attempt either to obtain in one moment that which cannot be taken up in one moment, or to desist from that which you are able to take up little by little.

Saint Ephrem's Commentary on Tatian's Diatessaron, I:18-19
Translated by Carmel McCarthy