What does Don't Drink The Water mean?

Dave Matthews Band: Don't Drink The Water Meaning

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Album cover for Don't Drink The Water album cover

Song Released: 1998

Don't Drink The Water Lyrics

Come out, come out, no use in hiding.
Come out, come out, can you not see
There’s no place here, what were you expecting?
No room for both, just room for me.
So you will lay your arms down,
Yes, I will call this home.
Away, away, you have...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Feb 28th 2007 !⃝

    In that storytellers program dave did talk about crickets, but it didn't have anything to do with don't drink the water. Also, in storytellers, Dave actually says that DDTW is about what happened with the native americans and how it's important to remember that our past "has some poison in it"


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Dec 10th 2007 !⃝

    More specifically, this song is about and native american massacre that took place at the grand canyon. Native americans were pushed off the clifts turning the part of the colorado river red with blood. This makes "dont drink the water" both a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning that out history is not all that great.

  3. anonymous
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    Dec 21st 2018 !⃝

    This song is clearly about how he got where he is. The devil entering his body. "Your father's spirit still lives in this place... I will silence you". It is no wonder why he starts many concerts with this song. It's like a victory song for his master. It is very unfortunate and sadly mistaken. The devil will be the one who is silenced. The Father will bury him. In his song Some Devil he makes it even more Point Blank." Some Devil some angel has me to the core."

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  4. anonymous
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    Sep 11th 2018 !⃝

    The meaning is of course the conquering and subjugation of indigenous peoples by the white race.

  5. anonymous
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    Jun 27th 2017 !⃝

    The meaning is of course the conquering and subjugation of indigenous peoples by the Japhetic (White) race. Specifically, in the video it conjures images of white people trying to take land from what appears to be a South American tribe. Matthews head is singing while decapitated indicating a more or less futile resistance. The bible predicted this movement as foretold by Noah concerning Japheth, Noah's eldest son, in Genesis chapter 9:27. As brutal as the slaughter of millions have been by the white race, it nevertheless reveals the accuracy of scripture.

  6. oldschool
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    Oct 1st 2016 !⃝

    The song is about Satan. Dave Matthews said that in an article I read. Upon examining the lyrics I agree. Although the narrative can also describe the plight of Native Americans and other indigenous peoples pushed of their lands in other countries the deeper meaning describes a diatribe by Satan and his plea or threat to Christian believers. Starting in the opening verses regarding Adam and Eve in the garden hiding after their spiritual eyes were opened after eating forbidden fruit. Man's dominion over the earth was at this point taken from him and given to Satan who now becomes the prince of the power of the air. Satan now desires to establish his kingdom here on earth as earth is now his "home". His desire is to silence God's people from preaching the Truth. "Your boat is is leaving" refers to Jesus Chris who most theologians would agree is a representation of Noah's Ark. "Lay your arms down" means don't praise or worship God". Praising God is a former of spiritual warfare. "Rest my feet by this fire" is another reference of Satan. "Spread my wings", well who has wings? God does, as well as angels of which Satan is a fallen one. Now the real kicker, "Don't drink the water, there's blood in the water." Water represents the Gospel message. The blood in the water is the blood of Jesus Chris, without which the Gospel message has no power or relevance. That which Satan fears most is the Gospel message backed up by the power of the Blood of The Lamb. I've heard countless performances of Dave singing this song and often he may omit or add subtle words as do most artists. One word he often omits but not always is when he sings "God, I live with the notion, I don't need anyone but me". Listen to this version of his performance at New York City's Central Park. You can find it on Youtube. Actually it was his opening song. What I think is interesting though is I believe Dave intentionally wrote this song about Satan and he may have unwittingly wrote some of the lyrics without even knowing their deeper meaning. I say this because I'm sure Satan influences all the time and we are unaware of it.

  7. anonymous
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    Jan 6th 2013 !⃝

    1. If you watch the music video it has the racial view of a native american
    2. Not room for both
    Just room for me
    So you will lay your arms down
    Yes I will call this home
    Away, away
    You have been banished
    Your land is gone
    And given to me - Meaning he took the land for himself
    I live with my justice
    I live with my greedy need
    I live with no mercy
    I live with my frenzied feeding
    I live with my hatred
    I live with my jealousy
    I live with the notion
    That I don't need anyone but me - self explanitory

  8. anonymous
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    Dec 7th 2012 !⃝

    It is about the Indians being forced off their land. specifically it's about the Cherokee and the "Trail of Tears". The entire song is from a white mans perspective until the part about don't drink the water. That is from Dave's perspective about how the whole thing is tainted (there's blood in the water) and how you shouldn't think in anyway Jackson's ignorance was a justified in any way (DON'T drink the water).

  9. anonymous
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    Oct 12th 2012 !⃝

    This song is about oppression through colonization and imperialism. Dave Matthews is originally from South Africa, so the oppressive system of Apartheid comes to mind. Matthews has also travelled extensively and lives here in the US, so the mistreatment of Native Americans is included as well. Especially when he ad lobs the lyrics to 'This Land Is Your Land'. Bloodin the water reminds is that our nation's history is tainted by the blood that was on the hands of our 'founding fathers'. It is a reminder to never forget the real origins of our nation, and the slaughtered indigenous people who paid the price.

  10. anonymous
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    Jun 30th 2012 !⃝

    The tune, in my mind, is about a relationship gone bad. And moving on... Relating the situation to the Native Americans.

  11. anonymous
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    Jun 19th 2012 !⃝

    This song is about the Apartheid in South Africa. Dave Matthews is from South Africa and the song is about the racial segregation that has been a problem there for a long time. Another thing to remember is that Dave Matthews is not a normal human being...you just have to listen to most of his music to know that. He is still one of the most amazing lyric writers in my opinion. His music means something.

  12. anonymous
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    Feb 19th 2011 !⃝

    It's about the mistreatment of American Indians. So says Dave who even referred to it as his "Thanksgiving Song": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUnj_yI27Dg&feature=related.

  13. anonymous
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    Dec 5th 2010 !⃝

    Really, this is a moot argument. If you consider the ways in which African culture influenced Dave's musical style and understanding of tribal history in both Africa and America, it becomes very clear that the song is about the suffering of BOTH groups-- regardless of where he happened to discover the idea of a close parallel between the two. Listen carefully to the instruments which were chosen to construct the song. They were deliberately chosen as representative instruments that are very common in both African and Native American compositions. You're both correct.

  14. anonymous
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    May 25th 2010 !⃝

    This song is about the Indian Removal Act of 1830 where all Native Americans where sent West of the Mississippi so we could settle it to mine precious materials and farm it.

    I watched this in Social Studies and we are learning about the Act. It show the Indians near the water.

    The title means don't drink the water Your Blood is in it as if he's talking the the Native Americans. This is pretty political and deep about the mistreatment of the Cherokees

  15. anonymous
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    Apr 30th 2010 !⃝

    To say or interpret it in a simple way the song is about when God (the Christian God) comes back to take his people and the devil rules on earth but there is more too it

  16. anonymous
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    Mar 25th 2010 !⃝

    This is about the European slaughter of Native Americans, as the colonization of North America caused the near-extinction of the Native American populace. Matthews said of the song: "There's times when I've traveled around this fine country, and others, but this fine country, I remember one time standing at the edge of lake Superior, up there, we were camping up on the northern side of it and looking out and imagining these little rocks that jut out, families of people going past in canoes and hunting on the side of the lake there, and also like if you sit and look at the Grand Canyon and get a little distance between you and that McDonalds that's peering down over the canyon with you, and just imagine the quiet that must have been there and the people that enjoyed it before we came, and I just get awed because it's sort of an overwhelming feeling looking at those things just going, "man does that suck, does it suck." That you could erase somebody, ya know? take somebody's whole universe away. It's just unbelievable for those people... just the fact that a little bit of our history has a lot of poison in it and that maybe we can't reverse things but maybe pay a little tribute to it every once and a while."

  17. anonymous
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    Feb 25th 2010 !⃝

    Although it can apply to many things and symbolize many things I have to say that I always think of it as a Native American/Colonists song in particular.

    Especially during live versions when he throws in:

    "This land is your land, this land is my land
    From California, to the New York Island
    From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters"

    near the end. I have heard this a couple times and particularly that I can recall during the live Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds show. And this song is partial to America. This only confirms he is talking about America. Yes Dave is from Africa but that doesn't mean every song he sings is about Africa.

    On another note, blood in the water is just a phrase for people being killed over something like blood diamonds. Blood on your hands. I think it the phrase "blood in the water" is the simplest way to say something much more meaningful.

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