"The Maker" as written by and Daniel Roland Lanois....
Oh, oh deep water, black and cold like the night
I stand with arms wide open
I've run a twisted line
I'm a stranger in the eyes of the Maker
I could not see for the fog in my eyes
I could not feel for the fear in my life

From across the great divide, In the distance I saw a light
Of John Baptist walking to me with the Maker
My body my body is bent and broken by long and dangerous sleep
I can't work the fields of Abraham and turn my head away
I'm not a stranger in the hands of the Maker

Brother John, have you seen the homeless daughters
Standing here with broken wings
I have seen the flaming swords
There over east of Eden
Burning in the eyes of the Maker
Burning in the eyes of the Maker
Burning in the eyes of the Maker

Oh, river rise from your sleep
Oh, river rise from your sleep
Oh, river rise from your sleep

Lyrics submitted by Shoot_Me

"The Maker" as written by Daniel Lanois

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Maker song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI dont think it is a song about losing your way in religion, but finding your way. The start of the song, he says "I'm a stranger in the eyes of the Maker" and at the end he is NOT a stranger in the eyes of the Maker. as well as other lyrics in the song. i think it is about coming to religion, maybe despite of himself, despite of everything. obviously, i am a deeply religious guy, and song struck a cord within me. i think it is mainly about daves struggle w/ religion, (tho he didnt write it, he chose to sing it multiple times) and is about COMING to God, now leaving.
    Jesus_Freakon February 27, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's quite religious...John Baptiste? Brother John? Totally of the Christian religion. "I'm a stranger in the eyes of the Maker," by the Christian faith, would refer to God not recognizing us through our sin. But even so, He still made us and knows us ("I'm not a stranger in the hands of the Maker").
    reesespieceson February 18, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentKeep in mind also that Daniel Lanois is Quebecois. Besides the obvious religious references applicable to everyone, his references to Jean-Baptiste and the fields (plains?) of Abraham are very important to French Canadian history and culture. It's a brilliant and beautiful song on many levels. Have a listen to the Daniel Lanois original if you get a chance.
    ethereal_girlon February 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretationi think it's about a sinner...
    "I could not see for the fog in my eyes
    I could not feel for the fear in my life"

    who open himself
    "I stand with arms wide open"...

    to God's Mercy...
    "From across the great divide, In the distance I saw a light
    Of Jean Baptiste's he's walking to me with the Maker"
    "I'm not a stranger in the hands of the Maker"

    Dear friends, it's a Gospel Song. You know who is Jean Baptiste (the last of the Prophets) and the Maker is Jesus Christ.

    But I could also say, as the the Bible say, Jesus walked towards Jean Baptiste, and Jean Baptiste saw Jesus and recognized Him as The Maker.
    agostino12on January 29, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation(silly UI... one wrong click and I have two partial posts I can't delete)... here we go again

    First, as to Dave's or Daniel's respective religious orientations - it isn't necessary to be a believer to understand (or appreciate) Christian symbolism and themes. I don't think Dave is a Christian, I take him at his word as an agnostic.

    That said, I have two reads on this:

    1. It's about the passion of Jesus Christ
    a. Jesus began his ministry through baptism by Jean-Baptiste
    (in the deep water, symbolizing the grave)
    b. This could be spoken in the ecstasy of martyrdom
    (standing arms open ~ upon the cross)
    (body bent & broken)
    (doubt & fear - "Father, why hast thou forsaken me?")
    (yielding to clarity and visions - angels, divine justice)
    (hands of the Maker - "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit")
    (was John the Apostle at the crucifixion?)
    c. Christ as the symbol of righteous justice (the flaming sword etc.)
    (homeless daughters with broken wings... fallen angels? not very clear)

    This is a perspective of Christ as a man who came through his experiences to a belief in his divinity and ultimate understanding of his purpose.

    2. It's a crisis of faith and indictment of the Christian religion in a (former?) believer's history of faith
    a. Lost & seeking
    (arms open, feeling lost and unfeeling)
    (staring into the black water... pre-baptism? again, reference to the grave)
    b. Salvation
    (feeling of oneness and understanding in the hands of the maker)
    c. Questioning & doubt
    (homeless daughters with broken wings = people of the faith whom God allows to suffer)
    (East of Eden is a tragic Steinbeck novel, with Cain/Abel references)

    There is an interesting distinction between being a stranger in the *eyes* of the maker but not a stranger in the *hands* of the maker. This could be read to reject belief in God's love (personal interest in each and every person), but a recognition of God's imputed actions (often capricious or seemingly unjust).

    In any case, a melancholy and thoughtful song. A great song.
    barsinisteron March 30, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment This song has very obvious Christian overtones woven throughout, I know this is not a DMB original, but Dave actually has a lot of Christian references in his music. Now the only thing is if you are a Christian and/or choose to follow along with the thoughts, and obviously nobody really knows the meaning, save the writer.

    I like what barnsinister and Idanielsen have to say. Here are some other thoughts:
    Verse 1: The water could be the 4 rivers that converge in Eden, Adam screws up (runs a twisted line) and is now ashamed to be seen by God. So, he finally comes out to confront his mistake and God is angry, curses the ground and banishes Adam/Eve from the garden of course they are going to be afraid, scared and confused regarding the uncertainty of their future.

    Verse 2: Could go in a multitude of directions with this one. "Across the great divide, in the distance I saw light" could be referencing the great chasm between the earthly and spiritual realm. John the Baptist was Jesus' brother, there are some small and ancient philosophies that believe John was actually the Messiah. "Body was bent and broken, from a long and dangerous sleep" could be referencing Adam/Eve here again, Genesis 2:21-23, and perhaps the lineage of John-Abraham-Shem-Noah-Adam. It could also be talking about our spiritual sleep when we are not in the presence of God here on earth, and what a toll that can take on us. I have heard reference of "working the fields of Abraham" with regards to reaching out to the lost, as abraham is considered the father of the nations. And the realization that if you believe we are made in God's image then we cannot be strangers in God's eyes, no matter what our sins are.

    Verse 3: "...homeless daughters, standing there with broken wings..." could be a reference to "fallen angels" or sinners, just like adam/eve. In a Christian system of faith we are all sinners and will be judged for our own sins not for adam and eve's transgressions. The end of this verse is very biblical indeed, Genesis 3:23-24 "So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life." God was indeed angry.

    Verse 4: could be referencing the resurrection.

    Just some thoughts, your journey is your own make it worth the ride. Dave made a good pick singing this brilliant song.

    Wolf1810on July 27, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is such a pretty song...i fall asleep to it every night. Not too popular, but still a great song.
    Emnm0331on September 08, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSimply awesome song! What else can I say?
    jc_25on March 31, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree with sean about losing your way in religion, do you think it might have something to do with dave being agnostic? even though he didnt write it maybe he chose it for some of those reasons, because a lot of daves songs can relate to his being agnostic
    voodoochld000on May 10, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI also agree that this song is about losing your way in religion, yet I don't think dave is agnostic. I just recently read in an article that the song "Save Me" was inspried by biblical story about Jesus and the Devil in the desert where his fate would be tested (Matthew 4:1-11). Dave said this was one of his favorite stories in the bible.
    HafaLai2001on June 14, 2004   Link

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