My Deliverer – What do the symbols in the Rich Mullins song mean?


God in His omniscience has embedded within the fabric of creation a voice that cries out with a singular message that all humans are able to hear.  To some, it is a faint voice, but even though faint, it rides the wind like a whisper and echos through the halls of time.

For the believer, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the voice is louder, clearer, and more personal, but because the voice resonates with the spirit of the believer, the believer’s heart burst forth with the response, “My Deliverer is coming!”.

The people of God have always heard this voice.  In Egypt, the captive Israelites heard it and cried out.

When Israel was in captivity in Babylon they heard it and cried out for deliverance.

In the first century, both Simeon and Anna in the temple of God heard the voice and waited for Messiah with confidence that their deliverer was coming.

Then it happened, in response to the cry, the Deliverer appeared

Lu 2:6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God and King of kings was born – The Deliverer had come!

The song, “My Deliverer” by Rich Mullins, is a profound and powerful song with lyrics that surpass the typical contemporary worship song.


Joseph took his wife and her child and they went to Africa

To escape the rage of a deadly king

There along the banks of the Nile, Jesus listened to the song

That the captive children used to sing


Mullins envisions Mary and Joseph fleeing with Jesus to Egypt as King Herod seeks to find and kill the Christ Child.  Mullins paints the picture that in Africa/Egypt where the Israelites were once captives, Jesus can hear their songs and cries for deliverance as though they were still hanging in the air from centuries before.


They were singin’

“My deliverer is coming, my deliverer is standing by

My deliverer is coming, my deliverer is standing by”


What a beautiful picture of Jesus compassion not missing one solitary cry of pain filled hope, and not one word of God’s people falling upon deaf ears, but instead God collecting every one with full intention to answer.

Mullins goes on and writes,


Through a dry and thirsty land, water from the Kenyon heights

Pours itself out of Lake Sangra’s broken heart

There in the Sahara winds Jesus heard the whole world cry

For the healing that would flow from His own scars


These lyrics call us to deeper thought and revelation of God’s love for those who cry out.  Mullins points us to the continent of Africa as he skillfully draws an illustration from the geography of the land.  The Sahara Dessert runs across the top of the continent. Much of it is dry, dusty, and desolate. Below the Sahara Dessert is the country of Kenya where Mount Kenya is located.

Mount Kenya is the 2nd highest mountain in Africa and at its top is a rare occurrence, a tropical glacier.  The runoff water from the glacier atop Mount Kenya sends cool clean water down into streams and tributaries to dry and thirsty lands.

Mullins writes of a lake called Sangra. A quick internet search reveals that there is no Lake Sangra in Kenya, so what does Mullins mean?  The word “sangra” means to bleed, or blood.  He draws this beautiful word picture of the waters of Mount Kenya flowing into a lake of blood that then flows out to a dry and dusty land to do more than just quench physical thirst, but quench the cry of the thirsty soul in need of rescue, deliverance, and forgiveness of sin.  This deliverance “flows from His own scars”.

That ancient voice still hangs in the air. Still resonates with the hearts of believers everywhere, as they cry out in Holy Spirit unison, “My Deliverer is coming, my Deliverer is standing by”.