“Watered Down Love” by Bob Dylan

I am extremely happy that in this series of posts presenting songs relating to 1 Corinthians 13, I can include a song by Bob Dylan. Here are some of my reasons for this:

  • One of the greatest songwriters of modern times recognized the wealth in 1 Corinthians 13 and used it to reflect on not only “love” in the sacred text, but on what we ordinarily do with that love, namely to “water it down.” Of course it is ironic that most Dylan fans  have probably never heard this song that deals with one of the greatest chapters in the Bible, even though Dylan fans once wanted him to be their “prophet.”
  • Many Christians have never “hoped all things” regarding the faith of Bob Dylan, who at one time boldly proclaimed his faith in Jesus Christ, namely that he still believes. Sadly, I would also guess that most Christians have also never heard this song or many other Dylan songs dating to the present, that deal with the big things like God & Jesus, the word of God, faith, love, society, idolatry, etc.
  • What Bob Dylan did with 1 Corinthians was masterful, providing us with an accurate picture of both God’s love and our sinful propensity to desire less. It is a great song for what Soren Kierkegaard called Spiritual Upbuilding.”
  • Bob Dylan historically paved the way for other singer songwriters such as Mark Heard and Pierce Pettis, both of whom also had songs in this blog series.
  • I simply like most Bob Dylan’s songs, but this one is a favorite.

In his commentary on this song, Christopher Ricks says of 1 Corinthians 13 and Dylan’s use thereof that

“Those closing clauses constitute one of the most noble progressions ever realized. Dylan’s song does nothing to demean this but does have the courage to play mischievously with it (as against competing with it) when calling it into play.”

When you listen to the song you should be able to hear Dylan’s “playfulness.’

Watered Down Love

Love that’s pure hopes all things
Believes all things, won’t pull no strings
Won’t sneak up into your room, tall, dark and handsome
Capture your heart and hold it for ransom

You don’t want a love that’s pure
You wanna drown love
You want a watered-down love

Love that’s pure, it don’t make no false claims
Intercedes for you ’stead of casting you blame
Will not deceive you or lead you into transgression
Won’t write it up and make you sign a false confession

You don’t want a love that’s pure
You wanna drown love
You want a watered-down love

Love that’s pure won’t lead you astray
Won’t hold you back, won’t mess up your day
Won’t pervert you, corrupt you with stupid wishes
It don’t make you envious, it don’t make you suspicious

You don’t want a love that’s pure
You wanna drown love
You want a watered-down love

Love that’s pure ain’t no accident
Always on time, is always content
An eternal flame, quietly burning
Never needs to be proud, restlessly yearning

You don’t want a love that’s pure
You wanna drown love
You want a watered-down love

Copyright © 1981 by Special Rider Music

Enjoy, and Thanks to Mr. Dylan

Original Content © Bryan M. Christman and Manifest Propensity, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan M. Christman and Manifest Propensity with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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