Standing knee-deep in cold water, swiftly moving
Somehow I knew I lost something

Wading waist-deep I saw a book there, in the river
Waiting for me to find it there
I tried to read it, neck deep, treading water
The tide pulled me out to sea

Then with water in my eyes
The words began to rise from their place
They were beautiful and dread
I reached for them and fed on each phrase
They were honey on my lips
Then a bitter twist in my side
I knew they'd lay me in my grave
"Is there no one who could save me?" I cried

Sinking down deep through cold water and heavy silence
Shadows stirring in the gloom
What things lay sleeping down deep in the darkness?
Woke then to find me in my tomb

Then with water in my eyes
The words began to rise from their place
They were beautiful and dread
I reached for them and fed on each phrase
They were honey on my lips
Then a bitter twist in my side
I knew they'd lay me in my grave
"Is there no one who could save me?" I cried

When I lost all hope to look
someone took that heavy book from my hands
all its weight they set aside
after they had satisfied its demands
I felt white and black reverse
and the lifting of a curse from my heart
Then like one receiving sight
I beheld a brilliant light in the dark


Lyrics submitted by Jake831

Words in The Water song meanings
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20 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentI think it's "wading waist deep, I saw a book there in the river", not "waiting..." but it's no big deal.

    I think the book referenced in the song is the book of Law in the bible. The more he tries to keep the law by himself, he sinks deeper in the water, until finally Christ pulls him up and saves him by perfectly keeping the law, something that he (the speaker) couldn't do by himself: "someone took that heavy book from my hands/all its weight they set aside/after they had satisfied its demands"
    playitloud253on September 04, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think that the lyrics refer to passages from Ezekiel 3 and Revelations 10:

    Rev 10 -
    8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”
    9 So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’” 10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”

    Similar imagery in the ezekiel passage about being given a prophesy in the form of a scroll, which tastes like honey when eaten. I think in this context the words and the book are a metaphor for "the law", as set forth in the biblical old testament. I assume that because of the last verse:

    "When I lost all hope to look
    someone took that heavy book from my hands
    all its weight they set aside
    after they had satisfied its demands"

    Which would make the most sense to me as saying that the intervention of god satisfied the perfect, but ultimately fatal requirements of the words, which is itself the central concept of the song. It's something that is the answer, it is perfect, but it will kill you.

    He knew he lost it, had to find it, when he did he knew it was going to kill him
    Knew I lost something/Knew they'd lay me in my grave

    He describes the feeling as tasting sweet, wholesome when in his mouth, but turning bitter when he tries to internalize them, as though they're a poison
    Honey on my lips/Bitter twist in my side

    He even describes the words as being both beautiful and dreadful, belying their nature
    They were Beautiful and Dread

    So then along comes jesus and the new testament and changes everything up and the words of the book are satisfied in his sacrifice, blah blah, I'm not actually christian but I like this song regardless, it's some pretty neat poetry and it's beautiful to listen to, feels mysterious. If anyone else has any alternative interpretations I'd love to know what they are though.
    endlesvydon September 21, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentYep I believe the interpretation that most people are giving is correct.

    When young Jewish boys were first learning the Torah, their rabbi would put honey on their lips so the law would always be sweet to them.

    Obviously the law was only instituted to point towards Christ and to illustrate the infinite gap between God and man and the absolute necessity of saving mediator.
    onlibertyon September 22, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Commentplayitloud has it right. Dustin said this about the song in a recent interview:

    For me, the song is talking about the idea of the Law, which is what God would command. It is beautiful, but it’s also treacherous in the fact that we can’t live up to it. It’s pretty much the difference between the Law and the Gospel. The Law is translated and the Gospel is what he gives, and that’s kind of where the song ends, is that transition.
    brooks450on October 14, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOh my word!!!!!!!! This is so amazing!! A clear song speaking about Salvation and redemption!
    Jesusfreak1989on September 04, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWHAT A SONG!!!!! Every aspect of it amazes me. The poetic format of the lyrics, complicated rhythm and alternating time signatures (4/5 and 6/8) and most of all the meaning of the lyrics - these guys are real artists!

    When I listen to the last chorus, I forget all the worries of life and embrace the freedom Jesus gave us through death on the cross. I wish everyone could know the hope and freedom He brings, it's incredible.
    mew32on September 29, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWORDS IN THE WATER
    (Taken straight from the physical album I own)

    "
    Standing knee deep in cold water, swiftly moving, somehow I knew I'd lost something

    Wading waist-deep I saw a book there in the river, waiting for me to find it there.
    I tried to read it, neck deep, treading water, but the tide pulled me out to sea.

    Then, with water in my eyes, the words began to rise from their place.
    They were beautiful and dread; I reached for them and fed on each phrase.
    They were honey on my lips, but then a bitter twist in my side.
    I knew they'd lay me in my grave, "Is there no one who could save me?" I cried.

    Sinking, down deep through cold water and heavy silence, shadows stirring in the gloom.
    What things that lay sleeping down deep in the darkness woke then, to find me in my tomb?

    Then, with water in my eyes, the words began to rise from their place.
    They were beautiful and dread; I reached for them and fed on each phrase.
    They were honey on my lips, but then a bitter twist in my side.
    I knew they'd lay me in my grave, "Is there no one who could save me?" I cried.

    When I lost all hope to look, someone took that heavy book from my hands,
    all its weight they set aside, after they had satisfied its demands.
    I felt white and black reverse, and the lifting of a curse from my heart.
    Then like one receiving sight, I beheld a brilliant light in the dark.
    "

    "endlesvyd" was right-on when finding the meaning of the song.
    Guys, face the fact: Dusting writes a lot of his lyrics based on the Bible.
    But that's a good thing!
    Swaffyon December 03, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI prefer not to take the bible interpretation routes when I hear Thrice's songs. While I know that is the original intent when Dustin wrote it, the lyrics are generalized enough that one can draw their own metaphors from the lyrics.

    To me I can see this song being someone being dumped/left in a relationship and being hung up on it. The book contains all of his memories of the relationship with his partner past weighing him down into what he feels like is the darkest depths of the ocean, drowning in the darkness.

    There is hope at the end, where the sad narrator finds another person who takes the book from him, lays it's heavy weight aside and brings him back in the life, possibly a friend helping him out of his sorrow or a new love in his life for him to embrace the light with.

    To each his own, I suppose.
    Aman89on January 04, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationDustin is a worship leader at Mars Hill church in OC, and one of the churches ideologies is that Christianity is more about a relationship with Jesus than the laws of the bible. I think this song sort of follows that line. In the beginning he is lost, then finds the bible. He initially thinks he has found his salvation. The honey on the lips is a reference to Judaism, which only follows the old testament, the section from which most, if not all, of the controversial topics come from (anti-gay, pro slavery, etc.) The bitter twist in his side is a reference to the piercing of Jesus' side during his crucifixion. He thought he was doing right by following the literal reading of the bible, but it has led to his demise. Finally at the end, someone (Jesus) takes the weight (burden of the biblical law) for him, and essential says "you don't need these laws, you just need me in your life"
    TheRevisioniston May 08, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't have the actual lyrics from Thrice. I think I'm pretty close here, but if I'm at all wrong, please fill me in.
    Jake831on September 04, 2011   Link

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