"Our Lady of the Well" as written by and Jackson Browne....
It is a dance we do in silence
Far below this morning sun
You in your life, me in mine
We have begun
Here we stand and without speaking
Draw the water from the well
And stare beyond the plains
To where the mountains lie so still

But it's a long way that I have come
Across the sand to find this peace
Among your people in the sun
Where the families work the land
As they have always done
Oh it's so far the other way
My country's gone

Across my home has grown the shadow
Of a cruel and senseless hand
Though in some strong hearts
The love and truth remain
And it has taken me this distance
And a woman's smile to learn
That my heart remains among them
And to them I must return

But it's a long way that I have come
Across the sand to find you here
Among these people in the sun
Where your children will be born
You'll watch them as they run
Oh it's so far the other way
My life has gone

If you look for me, Maria
You will find me in the shade
Wide awake or in a dream
It's hard to tell
If you come to me, Maria
I will show you what I've made
It's a picture for our lady of the well

Lyrics submitted by mikepauer

"Our Lady of the Well" as written by Jackson Browne

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Our Lady of the Well song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentAnybody wants to speak about this song?
    I love it and I'd like to know some of your thoughts about it.
    jack83on May 01, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSounds kind of biblical to me .... but maybe it's a forerunner to Jackson's overtly political material of the 80's - "across my home has grown the shadow of a cruel and senseless hand/but in sone strong hearts the love and truth remain". I guess there's something healing about water. Drawing water from the well could be symbolic of new ways of thinking?
    detailrichon October 18, 2008   Link
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    General CommentFrom listening to this song and reading the lyrics i believe its about a man who has just married a girl named Maria

    'You in your life, me in mine
    We have begun'

    and is now beginning his new life with her. Through falling in love with Maria he has gained a peace and learned that he has a good heart. They are now ready to begin their life together

    Another meaning of the song could be explained through the title 'Our Lady of the Well' It could very well be that Jackson Browne is describing the presence of the Holy Mother coming into his life. Mary or Maria has awoken his consiousness and now he is going to live his life like he should.

    And it has taken me this distance
    And a woman's smile to learn
    That my heart remains among them
    And to them I must return

    Further proof that it is religious is that if you listen to the next song on the album, "colors of the sun" he refers to seeing "Joseph and Maria", the parents of Jesus.
    Dirkskoula41on December 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI forgot to mention that it really an awesome song:)
    Dirkskoula41on December 05, 2008   Link
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    General CommentYeah, always thought of the story of someone leaving his home and family to live with his woman far away, reaching inner peace but still missing what he left behind.
    But I still don't catch the title/well/water thing...

    BTW, I love the "where your children will be born/ You'll watch them as they run" lines.
    JB's got this unique quality to make everyone's life's ordinary events look like something epic!
    jack83on January 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song. I've never really known what it means, and I don't think it really has the polish of JB's later material, but I do like it.
    Derefon March 07, 2010   Link
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    General CommentIn the late 60s and early 70s people like Jackson Brown did a lot of footloose traveling. People were also deeply uneasy with the state of the US government and the crass material economy. This seems to me a song, maybe autobiographical, of a man that went to Mexico, came across a young woman in a village, where yes, they still drew water from a well. He fantasized of staying with her and making his life there. But after some period of time, a week, a month, he realizes that he must go home and deal with the US society as well as he can.
    JF3on June 12, 2013   Link
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    General CommentFirst thing to consider is the cover photo. It seems that there is a man slouched on a chair behind and to the right of a well. Looks very much like Mexico. It is, in fact, the courtyard of the Abbey where Jackson spent formative years. I once stopped by to participate in a songwriting workshop put on by Severin, Jackson's brother and current resident of the Abbey. It was instant recognition when I stepped through the doorway into that courtyard. I stopped in my tracks held my breath even. I had just walked into an album cover from my youth. "Only in L.A.," I thought.

    It does seem that the song covers some political ground and draws analogies to romance and growing up. Sometime (I speculate) there is simply a brilliant song title that needs a melody and some words. The active imagination of a child growing up in such a place as the Abbey could easily find poetry in the notion that there is actually a lady who lives in the well.

    That all of life springs forth from a well is one of the oldest, and yes, somewhat biblical notions. The well was often the social hub of a village. The spoken bulletin board of a people and a time.
    stevem229on July 22, 2013   Link
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    General Comment"Across my home has grown the shadow of a cruel and senseless hand, although in some strong hearts the love and truth remain." "... among your people in the sun, where the families work the land, as they have always done, oh its so far the other way my country's come." I believe this is a reference to USA immigration policy and to farm workers, perhaps after traveling south and visiting Mexican friends. The lyrics speak of truths more than 40 years ago, as well as unfortunately, the truths of today. Jackson wrote this when he was quite young, but I believe he already had the inner stirrings of political dissent. The lyrics are more poetic and not as overt and powerful as his later lyrics, such as "Lives in the Balance" and "Looking East". "Our Lady of the Well" gently hints both at the Catholicism that is so important to the Mexican families who work our land, and Mexico / California's shared use of water. The last lyrics, "If you come to me Maria, I will show you what I've made -- its a picture of Our Lady of the Well" may be describing the song he has just written, and the "picture" he has painted with words.

    I highly recommend listening to Lyle Lovett's rendition of this song on "Looking Into You" tribute album. Jackson Browne's lyrics are made for and from his heart and mind; he sings his songs best. However, Lyle makes a worthwhile heart felt effort!
    L84theskyon April 04, 2014   Link

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