Swinden Quarry

I enjoyed a tour of Swinden Quarry last week, the large limestone quarrying and crushing plant situated near Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. The employees tasked with showing us around were keen to emphasis the place’s safety and environmental credentials, listing the various species of wildlife whose habitat the quarry preserves or enhances. I was driven down to the quarry bottom, which is a great grey pit from where the limestone can be obtained and crushed, ready for use on fields, roads and in concrete.

In the 28th chapter (vv1-11), Job discourses on mining. He anticipates the ancients’ desires to procure precious stones and metals rather than road building materials, but to the modern economy, crushed limestone is even more important to our lives. He writes:

“Surely there is a mine for silver,

And a place where gold is refined.

Iron is taken from the earth,

And copper is smelted from ore.

Man puts an end to darkness,

And searches every recess

For ore in the darkness and the shadow of death.

He breaks open a shaft away from people;

In places forgotten by feet

They hang far away from men;

They swing to and fro.

As for the earth, from it comes bread,

But underneath it is turned up as by fire;

6 Its stones are the source of sapphires,

And it contains gold dust…

He puts his hand on the flint;

He overturns the mountains at the roots.

He cuts out channels in the rocks,

And his eye sees every precious thing.

He dams up the streams from trickling;

What is hidden he brings forth to light.

Having commented upon man’s skill and desire to seek and find precious objects, he then reflects upon his need to find that more precious of commodities- wisdom (vv12-14):

“But where can wisdom be found?

And where is the place of understanding?

Man does not know its value,

Nor is it found in the land of the living.

The deep says, ‘It is not in me’;

And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’

If it is not found in the land of the living, its source must be eternity. How deeply we delve for limestone, but how shallow are the holes we dig for truth. While our roads are laid and our fields limed, each one will appear before Him who is the Wisdom of God, to account for why we never sought Him.

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13