The younger answered: 'He who kept the raiment of the people of Israel good for forty years in the wilderness has kept my skins even as you see [them].' Then the elder perceived that the younger was more perfect than he, for every year he had had dealings with men. So, in order that he might have [the benefit of] his conversation, he said: 'Brother, you do not know how to read, [but] I know how to read, and I have in my house the psalms of David. Come, then, that I may give you a reading each day and make plain to you what David says.' The younger answered: 'Let us go now.'

The elder said: 'O brother, it is now two days since I have drunk water; therefore let us seek a little water.' The younger replied: 'O brother, it is now two months since I have drunk water. Let us go, therefore, and see what God says by his prophet David: the Lord is able to give us water.' [And so] they returned to the dwellings of the elder, at the door of which they found a spring of fresh water. The elder said: 'O brother, you are a holy one of God; God has given this spring for your sake.'

The younger answered: 'O brother, you say this in humility; but it is certain that if God had done this for my sake he would have made a spring close to my dwelling [so] that I should not [have to] depart [in search of it]. For I confess to you that I sinned against you. When you said that for two days you did not drink [and that] you sought water, and I had been for two months without drinking, I felt an exaltation within me, as though I were better than you.' Then the elder said: 'O brother, you said the truth, therefore you did not sin.'

The younger said: 'O brother, you have forgotten what our father Elijah said, that he who seeks God ought to condemn himself alone. Surely he did not write it that we might [only] know it, but rather that we might observe it.' The more aged [of the two], perceiving the truth and righteousness of his companion, said: 'It is true; and our God has pardoned you.' And having said this he took the Psalms, and read that which our father David says: I will set a watch over my mouth that my tongue decline not to words of iniquity, excusing with excuse my sin. And here the aged man made a discourse upon the tongue, and the younger departed. [After this] there were fifteen more years before they found one another, because the younger changed his dwelling.

Accordingly, when he had found him again, the elder [Pharisee] said: 'O brother, why have you not returned to any dwelling?' The younger answered: 'Because I have not yet learned well what you said to me.' Then the elder said: 'How can this be, seeing [that] fifteen years have past?' The younger replied: 'As for the words, I learned them in a single hour and have never forgotten them; but I have not yet observed them. To what purpose is it, then, to learn too much, and not to observe it? Our God does not seek that our intellect should be good, but rather our heart. So, on the Day of Judgment, he will not ask us what we have learned, but what we have done.'