Home > CCM, Christian Music, Christian Pop, Christian Rock, Greatest Albums, Jesus Music > 92. Come to the Waters – Children of the Day

92. Come to the Waters – Children of the Day

COME TO THE WATERS (1971)

Children of the Day

With a gift of $900 four young “hippy” converts went into a studio with friend Buck Herring and recorded what many claim is the first “group” album in CCM history and the Jesus Movement and Music in Southern California was born. Predating Love Song’s classic debut by nearly a year, Come to the Waters by Children of the Day birthed a genre and a “scene” in Southern California that would not be duplicated.

And before the band finished their decade long career, they would also be a part of CCM’s first great scandal.

Four friends from Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa joined forces to create a tight harmony driven folk quartet and called themselves, Children of the day. The name of the band also comes from a line in one of the songs on the debut album. The album would also contain one of the true classic anthems of the generation and possibly the most popular worship song of the Jesus Music era.

Leader and songwriter Marsha Carter and sister Wendy along with friends Peter Jacobs and Russ Stevens joined forces to create an American folk band that was even recognized and received critical acclaim from those outside the tine Jesus Music movement. Carter and Steven would marry soon after the albums release.

They began performing regularly at coffee shops, Calvary Chapel Churches and elsewhere throughout the southern California region.  Immediately requests for their music poured in and the quartet approached Pastor Chuck Smith about borrowing some money to record their debut album. That album would be the first on Maranatha Music, though its catalog number would be 777. The Everlasting Living Jesus Music Concert would actually be released first as this album was held up until the compilation album was released, though the finishing of the album was several months before the compilation.

Come to the Waters starts with a beautiful acoustic mid-tempo ballad called “New Life” and would serve as the definitive sound for the project and the group. Acoustic piano and limited electric instruments  support brilliantly tight harmonies with all four members sharing lead vocals throughout. Buck Herring would recreate a similar sound with 2nd Chapter of Acts. The acoustic piano solo is wonderful when one considers the limited budget and the fact that their use of the piano was limited by Larry Norman breaking the same piano during his recording session at the same studio.

“As a Child” sports a classical intro and a contemplative, worshipful sound throughout. The six-minute song shows the diversity that is found throughout the album with its more classical approach both musically and vocally.

While the following track, “Children of the Day,” has a more acoustic folk rock sound similar to The Seekers or even the Monkees. Interestingly one would expect a Mamas and the papa sound, but it really isn’t there as the vocals are more classical sounding than “California cool.” The vocal bridge on this song is a great evidence of this.

The male vocals take front and center stage on “The Search.” Written at a time and for a generation that was constantly searching for truth or the next high, the song is perfect snapshot of that generation. Here again Herrings piano arrangement is just perfect.

“Two Hands” is a Tommy Coomes/Chuck Butler composition that would also be later recorded by Love Song on their debut. The arrangement is similar on both versions.

The rockiest (and nearly progressive) “Jesus Lives” is a real standout both musically and vocally. I can only imagine how “radical” this must have sounded in 1970. There are even a few vocal “issues” left in that are actually endearing and creates more of a live sound.

A little Bach follows with the a capella “All Breathing Life.” Again the groups musical and vocal versatility shines through here. Imagine all those rock music critics confused by some classical a capella vocals. Brilliant. Especially considering the two sisters were still in High School.

“Jesus” would have worked perfectly on a Love song album as well. The arrangement and vocals just sound like Love Song, especially the transition at the two-minute mark. Even vocally Peter Jacobs sounds a bit like Tommy Coomes on this one.

The album closes with a song that would be covered by more artists during the 70’s than just about any other song outside of “Easter Song.” It is also the song from which the album receives its name and was used at countless seaside baptisms over the years. Yet the song has had several critics because of the questionable theology it contains.

The song, “For Those Tears I Died,” became an anthem for an entire generation though it was written by Carter when she was just 16. It is a very sentimental ballad that has Jesus proclaiming that He died for the tears accompanying repentance. The song contains the line “Come to the waters,” and that has made it such a popular baptism hymn.

The critics complain that Jesus did not die for tears, not repentance, but as a substitutionary atonement for the sins of mankind. There are complaints of over-sentimentalizing the act of atonement and ignoring the sin that demanded the sacrifice.

But it would be events a decade later that would cause the greatest scandal regarding the band. Soon after the release of the groups final album, “Butterfly,” Carter divorced Stevens and announced that she was a lesbian. She founded BALM (Born Again Lesbian Music) and currently Pastors a gay and lesbian Church. She has a “life partner” and travels around performing and speaking with gay and lesbian friendly environments. She has also started an off-shoot of BALM that helps promote gay and lesbian artists within the Christian community.

Suffice it so say, but Jennifer Knapp is not the first artists to make open declarations of their homosexuality, though possibly the most prominent. but Carter was by far more influential during her tenure than Knapp and the revelations were shocking, especially in the early 1980’s.

The controversy was raised again in the early 2000’s when Bill Gaither performed “For Those Tears I Died” with Carter in the audience. He supposedly commented that she was in the audience and called it a privilege to perform her song and apparently showed more than tacit approval of her lifestyle. The uproar hit the Southern Gospel world hard as the rumors rampant in that part of the CCM world regarding sexuality has been the elephant in the room for decades.

For those interested a quick google of the subject will lead to countless site dealing with the controversy. the point here is to be honest about the facts because it is important to the overall history of the genre and ignoring them is unfair and a lie.

What this does not do is taint the project under consideration just as Knapp’s revelation does not change her history in this industry. There are regular readers of this blog that are familiar as I am with many artists or band members of popular groups listed here that have also made declarations of their homosexuality. None of them with the impact of Knapp or Carter, but just as important in their own way in this genre. The arguments and discussion will not end here, not is it the purpose of this list.

One final note. Children of the Day member Peter Jacobs went on to create several very popular children’s and “tween” products in Christian Music including “Colby the Computer” and the “Breakaway Praise” series as well as several other projects for Maranatha and other labels. Peter is also one of the genuinely nicest guys I have ever worked with, along with his wife Hanneke.

EDIT: I have purposely avoided making statements in this blog on the controversy surrounding homosexuality. This is not the purpose of this blog and I have decided not to allow the blog to be used by either critics or advocates. Those that know me know I am quite conservative and hold a very conservative view on this subject. Yet I have friends that i graciously continue to pray for and they know where I stand. I say this only because of several comments (deleted) that believe I have refused to taken a stand on the subject.

So, please note that vulgar, ungracious and mean-spirited comments will be deleted to preserve the nature and purpose of this blog.

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  1. Shawn McLaughlin
    April 6, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Dave – Can’t agree more with the edit at the end. I think we can all agree to let love be our compass when approaching potentially volatile subjects on a blog dedicated to Christian music and ones enjoyment of it.

  2. Don
    April 6, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Nice post and nice ending to it. I would disagree with you on this subject, but respect your viewpoint quite a bit, and appreciate the way you handled it. The point is the music, and not the controversy.

    And, thanks once again for the history of great music!

  3. Don
    April 6, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    WAY OFF TOPIC

    David – please delete this if you want – I was trying to find a song / cd with a song with the following lyrics:

    “How can I trust in a world that I can’t have forever….”

    I used to hear it on the Scott Ross show. Gotta be about as old as this album.

  4. low5point
    April 6, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    You may be right…I may have been thinking of a different project…

  5. Hanneke Jacobs
    April 6, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Thanks, Dave, for these comments. From someone who was a part of this group, it was a very special part of my life, although ending sadly with division. One correction, if I may, all the arrangements of all the music were not done by Buck Herring, but by Peter Jacobs.

    • low5point
      April 6, 2011 at 11:42 pm

      Thanks…I own an mp3 copy and was going off other reports…

      • June 28, 2011 at 4:38 am

        I have been looking to buy an mp3 copy of “Come to the waters.” Would you be able to point me in the right direction? It seems to not exsist any where. Thanks for any help you can give me.

        Love in Christ,
        Jim Maguire

  6. Shawn McLaughlin
    April 7, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Yeah…I also have a ripped copy. Nice to hear from Mrs. Jacobs. How cool! I didn’t discover the disc until about 2002, and considering my predilection for edgy music, it surprises me that I like it as much as I do. Some things transcend ages and boundaries, I guess.

    • low5point
      April 7, 2011 at 12:15 am

      We used to sell a lot of Peter and Hanneke’s stuff…First Breakaway Praise almost made the list, but you know my rules about collections and worship albums…so it had two strikes going against it. But Crystal’s version of Shine Jesus Shine is one of the better versions of that song

  7. tim warner
    February 5, 2012 at 10:57 am

    This was one of the few Maranatha albums I bought right when it was first released. Of course I absolutely loved their musical sophistication as well as integrity and excellence. I think this is due to Peter Jacobs strong musicianship and gifts. Their second album surpassed the first, although is relatively unknown these days. Ok, the other few records I bought were Love Song and the original compilation album which I just played a copy of a few weeks ago. I used to attend the Maranatha concerts whenever they came up to No. California. Those truly WERE the days!

  8. Scott
    October 23, 2014 at 6:36 am

    Looking for a song by Children of the Day with the lyrics
    ……I know this much is true, But what I see and What I love is Jesus Using you.
    Any help would be great, Thanks

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