This text has a spirit of eagerness and anticipation. The four stanzas guide the singers’ emotions on a journey: the desire to be united with Christ through baptism, the recognition of our unworthiness, the affirmation of our love for Jesus, and the need for a Savior. These elements highlight the communal aspects of a baptismal celebration.
An African-American spiritual, this song makes use of a recurring image in spirituals: the waters of the Jordan River. These waters are a metaphor for liberation, not only from oppression but from the bondage of earthly life in general. The ambiguous “water” mentioned in the opening phrase of the text might tap into a whole spectrum of metaphorical implications. The text summarizes the journey of those who come for baptism in a community that then also renews their own baptismal vows, together desiring to be united with Christ (st. 1), recognizing of our unworthiness (st. 2), affirming our love for Jesus (st. 3), and confessing that Jesus is our Savior (st. 4).