Modern biblical exegesis is severely weakened by its tendency to rely only on “science” or “reason” instead of also allowing faith to play its proper interpretive role. One way of overcoming this problem is to enrich modern exegesis by integrating it with the exegesis of the church fathers, who are exemplary in allowing faith to guide their interpretations of the Bible.

Walter M. Werbylo here brings out the multiple layers of meaning in John 7:37–39 (which includes Jesus’ cry: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink”) by integrating the patristic exegesis of these three verses with the modern exegesis. His patient, wise investigation shows what the patristic and modern methods look like in practice, and it confirms that patristic exegesis and modern exegesis are indeed guided by particular and identifiable principles that can —  and should — be fruitfully combined.

Walter M. Werbylo, C.S.B., is assistant professor in New Testament at St. Augustine’s Seminary of Toronto.