I will be reviewing a book on the public reading of Scripture in the next few weeks, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the act of reading Scripture. I came across this quote today from the church father Ambrose of Milan and wanted to share it!
Drink Christ because he is the vine; drink Christ because he is the rock that poured out water. Drink Christ because he is the fountain of life; drink Christ because he is the river whose running waters give joy to the city of God, and because he is peace, and because out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. Drink Christ to drink the blood which redeemed you; drink Christ to drink his words: the Old Testament is his word; the New Testament is his word. Holy Scripture is drunk and swallowed when the power of the eternal Word penetrates the depths of the mind and the virtue of the soul. In short, we do not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. Drink this word, but according to its own order. Drink it first in the Old Testament; then hasten to drink it also in the New.
Ambrose of Milan (c. 337-397): On Psalm 1, 33 (CSEL 64:28-30)
I like this description because it says two things: 1) when we read Scripture, it is possible to drink Christ and of his living water; 2) there is a definite canonical order to pay attention to in progressive revelation (old to new). Reading the Old does slake thirst, but not like the New. We need both in order to drink Christ.