If holy water is really holy, why just touch a dab of it?


If it’s really holy, I want to just jump in and swim in it! I want to put my hands together and splash it over my face when I walk in the church, not just touch it w/a finger. Why do people do this? Where/When did the tradition begin? What is the rationale to having this water “blessed?” What would the purpose be? I’m just trying to understand more since I"m not yet Catholic. Thanks!


I don’t know about the tradition of just using a dab of holy water, but, I do know a cubic meter of water weighs 1 tonne. And somebody has to carry all this water around to oh-so-many holy water fonts. But all is not lost, you, yes you, can hop on a flight to Lourdes and go to the holy water baths there near the Grotto, strip off and be dunked fully under a spring fed pool of holy water.


Holy water - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Here are two references,as you can see Holy Water has been around a long time. Our Blessed Virgin Mary took a ritual bath 60 days after her the birth of Our Lord, but for Mary it was part of Jewish law. Holy Water is for a cleansing of sin, and blessings of course but not taken lightly like you want to take a shower? You must feel really sinful LOL:D


Wouldn’t it not matter what the water weighs if the priest can just bless all the water he sees? Why not bless your bathtub? Why not bless the lakes, oceans, ponds, streams, pools, etc? Imagine all the cleansing of sin that would take place! And if the answer is that people need to have faith to make it work, then the water itself is not the cleansing , but the faith of the person, right? But we’re supposed to have faith in Christ who saves, not water , right? And wouldn’t that mean it’s like a re-baptism? When it’s preached there is only one baptism? As you can see, this is a loaded concept !


Holy water is not a sacrament; it is a sacramental. This means the value of it is not inherent in it (as I understand the concept), but is related to the faith of the person making use of it.

Therefore (again, as I understand it), it wouldn’t matter if an entire lake were blessed if the people using the lake didn’t have faith in its blessing. The value of a sacramental comes from the user’s relationship with God, since the blessing ultimately comes from Him, not from the substance itself.

Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong about this. :smiley:


Blessing yourself with holy water is not a rebaptism. There are a couple things to keep in mind here:

  1. Holy water reminds us of our baptisms. Everytime we bless ourselves with holy water we are essentially renewing our baptismal promises.

  2. Matter is good. God created matter. When we read Genesis 1 and 2 we see that God created the material world and proclaimed it “good”. While original sin has tainted and stained much of the material world and our own bodies…matter is still essentially good. The Second Divine Person himself became Man and is physically seated in heaven! :smiley: The sacraments and sacramentals, outward signs/matter that convey grace and blessings, are an extension of the Incarnation. God comes to us through matter (primarily under the form of bread and wine in the holy eucharist).

  3. Holy water is seen in the Bible. A great example is the story of the pool of Bethesda in John 5. A modern equivalent is the pool at Lourdes which Our Lady Herself created and blessed.

Take a look at scripturecatholic.com/sacramentals.html for more Biblical references.

  1. Christ has given his Church (through the apostles, and now their successors the bishops, and their deputies the priests) the power of binding and loosing. The prayer of the Church, by virtue of Christ, has TRUE POWER. The prayer of the priest to bless the water thus truly makes the water holy.

God bless,

In Christ,



Would this be the same as asking the woman Matthew 9 why she didn’t grab Jesus rather than just touching His garment?

[quote=www.drbo.org] Matthew 9, 20 And behold a woman who was troubled with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment. 21 For she said within herself: If I shall touch only his garment, I shall be healed. 22 But Jesus turning and seeing her, said: Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

Please notice Jesus does not say your faith “alone” has made thee whole. She had faith prior to touching His garment (she said within herself: If I shall touch only his garment, I shall be healed), it wasn’t until the faith was put into action that she is healed. The point is it’s not a matter of volume. We don’t get extra grace by consuming a lot of the Eucharist, one crumb (or drop in the case of the wine) is equal to it all.


Catholics often keep a font near their front door, in their bedrooms’ doorways, and near the family altar. Use the water in the same way you do at church, dipping your fingers into it and making the Sign of the Cross. Bless your children with it as you tuck them in at night, using your thumb to sign them with a cross of holy water on their foreheads.

From FishEaters

For those who are thinking

Holy water is not in Scripture

Exodus 29:4

4"Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the **doorway **of the tent of meeting and wash them with water.

Wow sounds just like every Catholic Church!

Exodus 30:18-19

18"You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base of bronze, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it.

19"Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it;

**Numbers 5:17 **

17and the priest shall take **holy water **in an earthenware vessel; and he shall take some of the dust that is on the floor of the **tabernacle **and put it into the water.

Very Catholic sounding don’tcha think, priest,holy water, and tabernacle?

For those who have to see the words “holy” and “water” together:D

Numbers 8:7

7"Thus you shall do to them, for their cleansing: sprinkle purifying water on them, and let them use a razor over their whole body and wash their clothes, and they will be clean.

Sounds like a Palm Sunday Mass where the priest “sprinkles purified water” over us.

John 9:6-7

6 When He had said this, **He spat **on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes,

7and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent) So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.

Did Jesus need to use anything to cure the man? No, but God chooses to use material things **He created **to give graces and heal us.

John 13:4-10

4 got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.

5Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

6So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?”

7Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”

8Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

9Simon Peter said to Him,** “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” **

10Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”

Looks like Saint Peter had the same thought you did mesl4;)

The Lord uses water to wash the apostles’ feet to prepare them for their sacramental priesthood.

I also like to point out Jesus did not “immerse” His apostles’ completely, just their feet.

**John 19:34 **

34But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.

The Church uses holy water as a symbol of our Lord’s life giving water that flowed from His sacred Heart, and as the property which brings about the power of Jesus Christ Himself, in baptism, the Eucharist, and other sacred rites of the Church.

Scripture Catholic


“If holy water is really holy, why just touch a dab of it?”

Because the old advertizing slogan was correct: “A little dab’ll do ya.” The holiness doesn’t increase when the quantity of water increases.


Exactly - by this sort of reasoning, if the Eucharistic bread truly is the body and blood of Christ we should all be given a whole loaf rather than a small wafer, no?

closed #11

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.