"Washing Of The Water" as written by and Peter Gabriel....
River, river, carry me on
Living river, carry me on
River, river, carry me on
To the place where I come from

So deep, so wide, will you take me on your back for a ride
If I should fall, would you swallow me deep inside
River, show me how to float, I feel like I'm sinking down
Thought that I could get along

But here in this water, my feet won't touch the ground
I need something to turn myself around

Going away, away toward the sea
River deep, can you lift up and carry me
Oh roll on through the heartland
'Til the sun has left the sky
River, river, carry me high

'Til the washing of the water, make it all alright
Let your waters reach me, like she reached me tonight

Letting go, it's so hard, the way it's hurting now
To get this love untied
So tough to stay with this thing, â??cos if I follow through
I face what I denied
I'll get those hooks out of me
And I'll take out the hooks that I sunk deep in your side
Kill that fear of emptiness, that loneliness I hide

River, oh river, river running deep
Bring me something that will let me get to sleep

In the washing of the water will you take it all away
Bring me something to take this pain away


Lyrics submitted by Novartza

"Washing of the Water" as written by Peter Gabriel

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Washing Of The Water song meanings
Add your thoughts

10 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +4
    Song MeaningThis song to me is clear: the singer just had a call from an old lover, and the call was very painful.

    The words describe how he is trying very hard to stop thinking about it, and to think instead about water, about how it can calm, and heal, and lift and buoy...but then he re-triggers himself when he sings about the water reaching him "like she reached me tonight." And then, the 'floodgates' open, as he tells the truth about letting the relationship go, and the music crescendoes to coincide with the story of this massive pain he feels.

    After that, the music calms back down again, but now he's a little more honest and less metaphorical: he asks the water to bring him something to help him sleep, and finally, and most honestly of all, he asks the water, as it washes, to take away his pain.

    Mr. Gabriel says in the liner notes to the song's album, "Us," that every song on the album is about relationships. This one is no exception.

    One of my top five favorite songs of all time. Whenever I decide to give this a listen, I end up pushing 'repeat' on my car CD player as a kneejerk reaction, over and over, without even thinking about it.
    intellifanon June 22, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI sung it as a lullaby to all three of my kids, just slow the tempo a bit
    ThoughtfulApeon December 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentActually, this makes me think of "It's a Wonderful Life" With George Bailey standing on that bridge, ready to jump into the river.

    It's a decision point, will he wash away his pain, or wash away his life? Water can do one metaphorically, and one literally.

    What can turn a person around? Hope. Or just the decision not to jump. Sometimes, it can be harder to choose to let go of the pain, to choose to live.
    Doom Shepherdon August 01, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is not just about a broken heart it's about a broken soul. "I'll get those hooks out of me and I'll take out the hooks I sunk deep in your side." Are you kidding me? The only person on earth who could hurt these two people they way they have hurt each other is each other. That's some heavy stuff. It's a big responsibilty to love some one that much because when things go bad you can dig into each other like no else can. Heavy stuff people. Mind blowing.
    blackseoulon October 18, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, this song is about grief and how cleansing an act grieving can be. In the song the grief stems from a relationship, but for me that is just a jumping off point. In so much literature, water serves as a stand in for tears and emotion. Like some of the other responses, I agree that the water in this song serves as a baptism, but I have to disagree with others who seem to think that the water is purely a means to "washing pain away." The water IS the pain. That's the irony and paradox at the heart of this song and at the heart of a grief process: that experiencing pain is the antidote, that suffering is the key to solace.

    sparkpipon June 28, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSurprised no one's said anything about this one. I think the song is about suffering something terrible in the past (heartache etc) and then taking steps to move on. The washing of the water imagary links back to the idea of purity/cleansing. Similar to a baptism where sins from the past are forgotten, and one begins with a clean slate. A really beautiful song.
    Wonderboy2kon December 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt seems that, especially in the last bit, he is hoping that the water will, in turn, wash away the pain that he feels.
    K-nuxXxon July 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"I need something to turn myself around", I still dont know what would really turn a person around
    misspellingon January 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song nearly makes me cry; it's so beautiful and so moving, as is most of the album it's on.

    I love the sudden crescendo around the middle- "Letting go... it's so hard, the way it's hurting now..." That's what really gets me. Those lines are sung so painfully, so vulnerable I think... Very emotional song.

    I think it's about, well, letting go of the past, asking for the river to metaphorically heal the wounds.
    EnduringChillon May 20, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLook up his performance with Chris Martin on the R&R HOF ceremony - breathtaking. One of my all time PG favorites.
    tsma120on June 05, 2014   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain