Word Five / 2013 / Rain / Dusti Jensen, Steve Whitby

Have you ever sat down with a friend and started day dreaming together? One of you starts with the beginning of an imaginary scenario, and together you build an entire story as crazy as you dare to make it. That’s pretty much the way Steve and I wrote “Rain.” Therefore, to do the history of this song justice, we need to do something new here too and we are writing this blog together.

We wrote this song in 2013 and we were certainly not strangers to writing music together and making music together, but what was foreign was writing around this particular Scripture. It was the first year in the history of Tenebrae that something other than the teaching would be prompted by it. The Scripture is John 19:28 which reads: After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the scripture), “I thirst.”

As we sat in the W242 arena one afternoon mid-week, I still remember the crazy limitations we had surrounding writing this song. Everest, my oldest son, was sleeping in the nursing mother’s room in a pack-n-play for his afternoon nap, so we had a time crunch: however long he slept. And, a crew of firemen just so happened to drop by the building that day to inspect something, which woke up said sleeping child, and proved to be a big distraction right in the middle. But we persevered and found a lyric we wanted to use to build our song around: “I wish it would rain.”

We fed off one another lyrically as we created this picture of being at the foot of the cross hearing Jesus’ purely human need and not being able to meet it. Desperation leads to this dream that enough rain could flood the hill and we could swim up to Jesus to offer him a drink of water from our own two hands, if only it would rain. It flies in the face of what we normally want because rain, while necessary, is messy… but who cares at this point? He’s thirsty. And even though one drink, one sip, won’t save him, it seems like something we could do to ease his suffering. So, “I wish it would rain.”

Steve’s perspective:

We usually write pretty quietly — Dusti brings some notes on her phone and I bring an acoustic guitar. Over the course of an hour or two, we map out some chords, listen for a simple melody, and build the pieces of what we’ll turn into the song. But with “Rain,” I set down my acoustic and plugged in my old blue Les Paul. As we wrote, I tried picking out a lead line and banging big chords, but what stuck in the end was a tiny little three-note chord that I ran through a delay pedal to create the rhythm part that drives the whole song. It’s not loud and it’s not that exciting, but it is constant and relentless. A simple, repeating pattern with a syncopated bounce that mimics rain when it just won’t stop. 

I enjoyed writing from a new pattern — a new perspective — and think the song developed its distinct voice more easily than some of our others because of the way it started. There was a little chaos, a lot of urgency, and in the middle, a simple plea for rain that’s hanging over a constant rattle of a delayed guitar.

Lyrics

This should be so easy
I guess it won’t save Him
I see my King nailed high
Where are the clouds when you want them

Most days i hate the rain
I hate the mud on my boots
Can’t look at Him this way
When there’s nothing i can do

I wish it would rain
Oh sky be a fountain
Flood out this mountain
Drown evil away

I wish it would rain
Swim up to my king
Rush up to the cross
My two hands could lift
A drink to His lips

This should be so easy
I know it won’t save Him
He just seems so human
So fragile and broken

I stand here just watching
But i want to be with Him
I just feel so helpless
When there’s nothing i can do

I wish it would rain
Oh sky be a fountain
Flood out this mountain
Drown evil away

I wish it would rain
Swim up to my king
Rush up to the cross
My two hands could lift
My drink to His lips

I thirst for You to see me
I thirst for You to choose me
I thirst for You to share me
I thirst for You to know me
I thirst to hear You praying
I thirst to hear You singing
I thirst to see You loving
I thirst to know You want me

I wish it would rain

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