Wade in the Water (2019 Recording)- Performed and Produced by Cynthia Liggins Thomas
Wade in the Water (1925 Recording)- Performed by The Sunset Four Jubilee Singers
“Wade in the Water” was written during the era of slavery in the United States but was not officially published until 1901. Its lyrics have coded instructions to the enslaved escapees about how to avoid being re-captured. It suggests walking or “wading
in water” in order to hinder the dogs of the enslaved escapee’s chasers.
The song is normally associated with the Harriet Tubman (“Moses”) and the Underground Railroad.
The song also relates to the Bible. Its verses reflect the
Israelite’s escape from Egypt as described in the Book of
Exodus. The Chorus also refers to John 5:4, about The Pool of Bethesda…”For during a certain season an angel descended into the pool and stirred the water. Therefore he who first entered after the stirring of the water was made well from whatever disease he was held by at the time.” Berean Study Bible
Growing up and being baptized in the Black Baptist Church, I can attest to the fact that the chorus or “refrain” of “Wade in the Water” was frequently sung during baptisms.