A Christian Interpretation of Dave Matthews Band's Lie in Our Graves

Are you a Christian who loves Dave Matthew's band? Well if so, you will be glad to know that some of their songs can be interpreted to have a Christian meaning. While this may not have been the original intent of the lyrics, there is nothing wrong with using a song written for secular ends to express our love for Christ. One of these songs is "Lie in our Graves." This song closely resembles Jesus's teaching to Nicodemus in John Chapter 3. Check out my explanation below.

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Check out these passages from John 3. First verse 14:

"Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him"

And then verses 19-21:

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God."


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Now check out the opening stanza of "Lie in Graves":

"When I step into the light 
My arms are open wide 
When I step into the light 
My eyes searching wildly 
Would you not like to be 
Sitting on top of the world with 
Your legs hanging free 
Would you not like to be ok, ok, ok? "

Notice how much the stanza echo's the lines of the verse? First he speaks about stepping into the light, which echo's Jesus's words about living in the truth. Also notice how "my arms are opened wide" mirrors the posture of Jesus on the cross. In the next few lines he asks in essence "who wouldn't want to be sitting on top of the world?" I believe these lines can be interpreted as a reference to the joyful kind of eternal free life that Christians have in Christ.

But wait it gets better John 3:3-5

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”


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And the second stanza of the song:

When I'm walking by the water 
Splish splash me and you takin a bath 
When I'm walking by the water 
Come up through my toes 
To my ankles 
To my head 
To my soul 
And I'm blown away

Most people who here the song tend to think he is talking about something sexual when he says "me and you taking a bath". I would like to put forth the interpretation of me and you as "baptism into Christ's death". If you will consider Romans 6 1-4:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Notice the lyric about how the water "comes up to my soul and I'm blown away". Interesting how that sounds so similar to Jesus's references to how the spirit giving birth to spirit is like the wind.

Lie in Our Graves

The last stanza of the song goes like this:

I can't believe that we would 
Lie in our graves 
Wondering if we had 
Spent our living days well 
I can't believe that we would 
Lie in our graves 
Dreaming of things that we 
Might have been 

Would you not like to be 
I can't believe that you 
Would not like to be 
Would you not like to be 
Ok, ok, ok

The parallels to the joys of eternal life are readily apparent. "I can't believe that we would lie in our graves": I can't believe that we would just die. "Dreaming of things that we might have been" I have to believe that we were made for more than that. "Would you not like to be ok?" Don't you want to live forever and be free from your sin?


"Lie in our Graves" is an incredible song musically and after reading John chapter 3 I can no longer interpret the lyrics any other way than in the light of scripture. I greatly enjoy this song and I hope you will too!

Download the song here

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Comments 3 comments

twosheds1 profile image

twosheds1 4 years ago

Interesting. I've seen some videos on YouTube that claim that Dave is an atheist, and I read a site called "Newsbusters" that quoted the 11/17/2007 issue of Rolling Stone where Dave said "The idea of God as a fatherly figure who looks down on us and worries about how we're doing or takes sides when we have fights - it's more irritating than Santa Claus. The world and the universe are far more wonderful if there's not a puppet master."

So I guess you could take that any way you want. The way I always saw it is the line "my eyes searching wildly" meant that he was searching for spritual meaning but not finding it, or maybe finding it in interpersonal relationships, rather than in religion.

But with any great work of art, it's open to many interpretations, and what's so wonderful about it is that I can have different meanings for different people.

Seeing DMB Sunday!


Joe 4 years ago

Dave is agnostic. I heard him say it at a concert.

One interesting fact is that Dave is either high on marijuana or drunk during almost all his concerts. LET'S MAKE IT CLEAR there is nothing wrong with that! He puts on the most amazing shows that EVERYONE should see once before you die. It's a really great expirience! This being said it is in most cases impossible to know what Dave was thinking when he wrote lie in our graves. It could be about star gazing or hooking up in the back seat. No one will know until he tells and chances are he doesn't remember. Great musician, beautiful person.

NOW for my analysis. I think that this song is saying "live life without regrets". The first verse when I step into the light...ect. I interpret this as age 0-10. Innocence In youth. The next verse "Splish splash" I see as teen years (fooling around with a girl) the end of this verse is "I'm blown awayyyyayyyayyy" I see as having kids and being amazed by them.

When preformed live (I've seen it live twice) there's a long instrumental in the middle about 10 minutes. Longer if you're lucky. It's usually an amazing Boyd Tinsley Violin solo. I think it represents Aging. It starts fast and exciting and very gradually becomes slow and peaceful until it ends. Just like life! And then when the song seems like it should be over Dave suddenly proclaims "I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT WE WOULD LIE IN OUR GRAVES!!" to me it's the feeling or regret at the end of your life which is a huge fear of mine

Finally I think that before you go applying songs to the bible. Apply them to you're own life. I know Dave didn't use the bible to write this song. It was most likely expiriences from his life. So to get the full affect. Apply it to your life. It will get you a lot farther than applying it to the bible


twosheds1 profile image

twosheds1 4 years ago

I've often wondered about Dave's beliefs. For example, he said what he did in that interview, but then he writes songs like Eh Hee and Everyday which seem very religious. If I ever get backstage passes, I'll have to ask him about that.

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