Something Tells Me
Words and music by Anne Herring
The song "Something Tells Me" has been a life changer for me. It was written over 45 years ago by one of the true icons and pioneers of the early Jesus rock genre. It came to her after meditating on a painting of the resurrected Jesus joining two disciples on the Road to Emmaus. See Luke 24:13-35
Something tells me it’s time to go
to meet him - alone
To see him, to love him
When I start home
So, it was sometime in the late 1980’s and I was exploring Philadelphia with my friend, Ken, who was visiting from Arizona. It was a typical humid east coast day in August, and the two of us were sporting our latest “cool enough for the city“ summer attire - designer t-shirts, summer shorts and canvas shoes, no socks - you know the look. It was mid-afternoon when a light rain began to fall. It was then that I saw an entirely different side of my, till now, calmly reserved friend. With each drop of water that hit his skin there were embarrassing shrieks and yelps of mild terror. As the rain increased he quickly shifted into high gear, dashing from one store to another in search of an umbrella and a raincoat, howling and caterwauling all the way - literally prancing around puddles. I told him it was just a passing shower, but it made no difference. Being from Arizona, I guessed, did little to prepare him for city life under a rain cloud. Looking back, I realize that I am not so far removed from the antics of my comical friend.
I’m sure we’ve all been caught unaware in a sudden downpour. Like Ken, we usually run for cover when the skies open unexpectedly upon us. With a little more forethought we would have checked the weather app before heading out. But, as usual, we are too busy trying manage our way through daily life. Is the diaper bag ready? Ugh, why is my employer texting me now? Oh yes, Mom needs milk, eggs and shampoo. Oh crap, I forgot my face mask! Where are my keys? Stop hitting your little brother! Did I turn the stove off? Etc.
And then it happens. The skies open and all of nature assaults the earth with wind and rain. If possible we wait under the safe canopy of a grocery store until the storm passes. Other times, we are not so lucky. We are literally caught in the deluge and, for safety's sake, we have to think carefully and act quickly. There are also entire rainy seasons when the sky is a perpetual drizzly gray for days and weeks on end. It's at those times when there seems to be a definite link between our own depression and the gloomy expanse of clouds.
The perfect storm
I know His voice
I’ve heard it through the shadows
That clouds make when they break into rain
It's the horrific week following Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The clouds gather and the wind begins to blow. With the utter ferociousness of a cat 5 hurricane, the wrath of the Pharisees and Roman rule tear through the lives Jesus' followers - completely obliterating everything they had built their hopes on. Having been crushed by the bloody and brutal crucifixion of their dearest teacher and friend, they were left only with the dark aftermath of their now dead leader. Nothing to do but clean up the devastation and move on, I suppose. Suffering, despair, confusion and grief all rolled up into one.
The walk - the bread - the host
I want to walk by His side
When the rain starts pouring
To clean me
To wean me from myself
It is in this post-crucifixtion desolation that the resurrected One meets two of his followers on their sad seven mile journey home. And yet they are kept from recognizing him. No matter - he walks with them anyway, listening to their sorrow and ramblings and inner turmoil. And in true Jesus style, he carefully and gently explains why these things had to be. They invite him to their home to eat. It is then that he no longer assumes the role of an invited stranger, but the host. He takes the bread - he blesses it - they recognize him - he disappears. And now they understand saying - “Didn’t his words burn in our heart has he spoke?”
In this song, the voice of Jesus calls, asking to walk with us on our own Emmaus road of questions and confusion. I find it incredible that after all the suffering Jesus had been through, this One who had just conquered the power of death and hell, now wants to hang out and console two confused disciples, and then share a meal.
See the raindrops
On her LIVE album "How the West was One", Anne tells how the song was written. She quotes the following lyric:
"See the raindrops hit the ground
Just like tears they can’t be found
When the Son shines down His light
And brings forth the fruit of Life"
And then, with deliberate pause, she slowly and softly continues - "Oh, you know, in my life - every time I’ve had to cry because of a trial he is drawing me through, and I finally come to that point where I surrender it - he brings forth fruit. And I pray that Jesus will speak to your heart - and it will burn in your heart - and his light will cast out the shadows in it - and the doubts and the fears - and that the fruit will remain in your heart.”