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Tea with the Waitress


Lyrics by Tori Amos

God sometimes you just don't come through
God sometimes you just don't come through
Do you need a woman to look after you
God sometimes you just don't come through

You make pretty daisies pretty daisies love
I've gotta find find find what you're doing about things here
A few witches burning gets a little toasty here
I gotta find find find why you always go when the wind blows

God sometimes you just don't come through
God sometimes you just don't come through, babe
Do you need a woman to look after you
God sometimes you just don't come through

Well, tell me you're crazy maybe then I'll understand
(come down and tell me what you mean, now)
You got your 9 iron in the back seat just in case
(huh, whatcha doin)
Heard you've gone south well babe you love your new 4 wheel
(hey, now, what do you know, what do you know)
I gotta find why you always go when the wind blows

Give not thy strength unto women nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings

Will you even tell her if you decide to make the sky fall
Will you even tell her if you decide to make the sky

God sometimes you just don't come through
God sometimes you just don't come through, babe
Do you need a woman to look after you
God sometimes you just don't come through
Do you need a woman to look after you?
God sometimes you just don't come through

Additional lyrics from the Plugged 1998 tour

July 28, 1998

you dropped the bomb on me, Jesus
you dropped the bomb on me
come on and do it again
you dropped the bomb on me, sweet Jesus
you dropped the, dropped the
sweet Jesus, my little boy
you dropped the bomb on me, sweet Jesus
you dropped the bomb on me, boy
come on and do it, do it
you dropped the bomb on me, sweet Jesus
you can go, you go, you said...

Tori Quotes

"God" is, "Hey, buddy, I think you need a babe. Sit down. And I just happen to be around." The whole concept of God that our institutions have taught us, whatever it is, it's not just Christianity but the whole rigamarole, to me isn't what it truly is. I don't know what it truly is. But I don't believe that what we've been taught is what it is. Most of us don't -- that's not true. A few of us don't. But when you're 10 years old and being taught a belief system, you don't have the wherewithal to go, "Well, when they're putting this dried, stale cracker in my mouth, and telling me it's all going to be OK, it'll be OK if I put my little warm hand down on my little warm spot. That'll make it a bit OK." That's where "Icicle" comes in. But with "God," I think that the energy force of creation feels really pissed off that this usurper that humankind has created is misusing that force, you know? I think it's really pissed off. [Baltimore Sun - January 1994]

Now, my idea of God is not the energy I'm confronting. I'm confronting the institution of God that we've been taught through Christianity, the one that kind of rules the planet as far as the media goes. I'm saying, "Buddy, you need to sit down, and you need a babe, and I'm not busy this week. There's just some stuff we've got to go over here." It's been very empowering. Instead of this, "I'm not worthy." That's just a bit too big for me.

I had weekly tea-parties with God, 'cause that power is the spirit of creativity to me. In the song I direct myself toward the God of the institutionalized religions, the God we have been taught about, for whom we feel sinful and submissive. It was liberating for me to direct myself so directly toward Him. He's very lonely, I guess. In what I call the God-energy-power, there's a lot from the Bible. He brings love and healing, but also destruction. He's partly built out of the projection of men and women. The patriarchy, the witch-hunting, the firestacks follow from it. In the name of God a lot of wrong has been done. The woman has been robbed of her own experience of lust. I have explained it to you like I never did before. [Oor - January 29, 1994]

The notion of a male force as God is definitely not how I see things. Because that male force is the Christian God who says, "We are Christians and we love our neighbors as ourselves as long as they believe in God. If you do, we won't rape your women, slaughter your children or cut your nuts off" -- which was basically the culture of Christianity, with a male figure as its God-head. That's why I sing, "God sometimes you just don't come through. Do you need a woman to look after you?" The God-force must be feminized, perceived more as a God-Goddess. Jesus, his mother, "his church" all must be redefined. Especially a figure like Mary Magdalene... [Hot Press - February 23, 1994]

Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. - Proverbs 31:3 [Bible verse Tori quotes after 2nd chorus] Well, I'm going to tell you something cute about my dad. I called him from the studio and I said, "Look, I need a quote from the Bible that shows the raw deal women got." I call him back, and I'm in England 'cause we're mixing, and I just needed this quote and my father says, "Would you like to hear my quotes?" He gives me two pages of quotes from the Song of Solomon which says, "Thy globes are like ripe sweet berries; thy navel is like a cup which poureth spring water." It just goes on forever and I say, "Dad, no, this is not representative of what I'm talking about." He says, "Yeah, but these are beautiful quotes." And it was very interesting to me how my father, bless his cotton socks, just can't acknowledge the way that the Church has treated not just women, but people in other cultures -- it's hard for him as a minister to see the other side of Christianity and what it's done in the name of God. [WHFS Press - Spring 1994]

There's a division of power, male and female power, and there's a division within my own being. There's been a dishonoring of us with each other, and us with ourselves, and women against women, and men against men, and women against men... and that's how the song "God" got written. The institutional God who's been ruling the universe, in the books, has to be held accountable. I want to have a cup of tea with him and just have a little chat. I feel like the song is a releasing, a sharing. It's honest and loving. And it's sensuous. It's the goddess coming forth and saying, "Come here, baby. I think you've had a bit of a rough job, and I don't mind helping out now." Which I think is really cute. [Creem - March 1994]

Some of the songs, like "God," I'm just so in the middle of, that I'm not really the director. When I wrote that, I was having a complete conversation with the concept of what God is. Not necessarily what I think God truly is, but what the institution, whether it be educational or what have you, has made of God. To me, it's the root of all problems, that song right there. For me, one of the most important things I've ever done. You can call it my prayer if you want. [Performing Songwriter - March/April 1994]

I went after the patriarchy and God this time: I figured we went after the son, let's go after the father. That whole song is about calling forth a Goddess, that's what it is all about. So I really do feel that we pull that energy forth on the record. It was very liberating for me to write "God." To be able to say, "Hang on a minute, buddy. Sit down here. You got to be held accountable." Now this isn't my concept of what the great creator is. This is the concept of God, the institutional religion, whether it's Judaism, Christianity, Islam... and many other branches and offshoots, it's definitely been our heavenly father... he ain't lactating!

Singing "God" was really empowering -- the primitive, the seduction. Seducing God a bit was wonderful. He's great, he had a good time. He's smiling! I mean look, it's about communicating with a force that you've been so controlled by, and saying I need to deal with this force.

Some women have said to me "I can't believe you've made God a woman," and it's like, "Ok genius, leave the room, think for five minutes, go over your history, come back in the room and you tell me who has been the pope for the past few years." You tell me who's been ruling institutional religion: males, patriarchy and a male God. The female Goddess who has been our role model has been the Virgin Mary, a sexless being. Now even though the Virgin Mary had kids later on, nobody wanted to talk about that when I was growing up, nobody wanted to talk about the Magdalene. Nobody wanted to talk about Mary's true role. And people don't really think about how that affected an entire planet, to have the most populated religion worshipping a sexless being! [B-Side - May/June 1994]

I think that "God" -- that was a number one hit in America on alternative radio -- got a lot of the fundamentalist Christians pissed off. So, that's a good thing, I think, because that means you're stirring the pot up. I like stirring the pot up a bit. [Beat - July 14, 1994]

There was actually a part of me that felt really yummy going: "Ok babe, you're in a bit of trouble. Things aren't going well. Put your feet up. I'll make you a cup of tea 'cause you need some advice. I'm not busy this week so You're in luck." There has been a shift in the way I see myself. Instead of "poor little human," it's more like: "OK, I'm human and maybe you are immortal, but I know stuff 'cause I'm here, so I do have a perspective that I value." That's really a wonderful place, I think. Humans haven't been taught that they should value their perspective. It's always been so much bowing and scraping to the mythological deity. And I'm kind of feeling like He needs a babe. I'm definitely going after the patriarchy in that song. I'm going after the male presence that's dominated religion and calling forth the Goddess to do that. It's a goddess thing to do. [The West Australian - August 11, 1994]

[The song "God"], well that's all about, "Honey, you're not doing such a good job, you need some advice, and I ain't busy. So here. I need to take over." ... I think that um, it's about calling forth the Goddess, that whole song, really. And ... it's about not feeling inhibited to say to the Patriarchy or to God or to Jesus, whatever, say, "Hi, Jesus, you did a good job. I don't need your services, I can work this out on my own. Maybe I'm gonna bumble it a bit, but um, I have the tools and the capacity to figure stuff out. I don't need you to do it for me. I respect that you did it for you, I can do it for me." [KSCA - August 24, 1994]

Will you even tell her if you decide to make the sky fall? / Will you even tell her if you decide to make the sky? / God sometimes you just don't come through / Do you need a woman to look after you? / 'cause God sometimes you just don't come through

The woman in this song, the voice of this song, was really about a consort of God. That's the one song where, in all my work, I'm exploring God's lover. And I'm not talking about Mary the mother, or Mary who got "impregnated" by God. I'm talking about -- if we pull back and look at Christian mythology, and the idea that there is a God, why wouldn't there be a Goddess? In all of nature, there is not a male-only speicies. There has to be a female and a male. [Women Who Rock - January 2004]

With Little Earthquakes I started to face down the split between the Marys, both personally and in the larger sense. I continued to explore it during the Under the Pink phase. I think taking on the role of Ms. God, or God's lover in the song I wrote called "God" (from Under the Pink) was a big step for me personally in reuniting the two Marys within my Being. I began to realize that I needed the voices of both Marys to hold an anchor for the Ms. God archetype I was to embody in order to sing this song. I'll ask myself the question that other people have asked me over the years: "Define which God, Tori. Which God is the God in the song 'God'? Do you mean God, God?" And my answer is: "It depends on who you think God, God is." In Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, Elaine Pagels makes the "God behind God" concept of certain early Christians quite clear by quoting from different texts found in Nag Hammadi. Referring to the Apocryphon, the Secret Book of John, Pagels writes, "The Secret Book tells a story intended to show that although the creator-god pictured in Genesis is himself only an anthropomorphic image of the divine Source that brough forth the universe, many people mistake this deficient image for God. This story tells how the creator-god himself, being unaware of the 'blessed one, the Mother-Father, the blessed and compassionate One' above, boasted that he was the only God ('I'm a jealous God; there is none other besides me'). Intent on maintaining sole power, he tried to control his human creatures by forbidding them to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge."

Here I need to refer again to Dr. Meyer's The Secret Teachings of Jesus from the Gospel, the Secret Book of John. The one we know as Jesus the Savior is teaching his disciple John:
Now Sophia, who is the Wisdom of Afterthought and who represents an eternal realm, conceived of a thought. She had this idea and this insvisible Spirit of Knowledge also reflected upon it. She wanted to give birth to a being like herself... rather, something came out of her that was imperfect and different in appearance from her, for she had produced it without her lover. It did not look like its Mother and had a different shape... she threw it away from her outside the realm, so that none of the Immortals would see it. For she had produced it ignorantly. She surrounded it with a bright cloud and put a throne in the middle of it except for the Holy Spirit, who is called the Mother of the Living. She named her child Yaldaboath. Yaldaboath is the first Ruler who took great power from his Mother... this gloomy Ruler has three names: the first name is Yaldaboath, the second is Saklas. The third is Samael. He is wicked because of the mindlessness that is within him when he said, "I am God and there is no other God besides me." The Lord continued speaking to John... "The arrogant one took power from his Mother, he was ignorant, for he thought that no other power existed except for his Mother. He saw the throng of angels he had created and exalted himself over them."

In The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels writes, "According to the Hypostasis of the Archons, discovered at Nag Hammadi, both the mother and her daughter objected when he became arrogant, saying, 'It is I who am God, and there is no other apart from me.'... And a voice came forth from above the realm of absolute power, saying, 'You are wrong, Samael' (which means 'god of the blind'). And he said, 'If any other thing exists before me, let it appear to me!' And immediately, Sophia ('Wisdom') stretched forth her finger, and introduced light into matter, and she followed it down into the region of Chaos.... And he again said to his offspring, 'It is I who am the God of All.' And Life, the daughter of Wisdom, cried out; she said to him, 'You are wrong Saklas!'"

So, to answer the question, this is the God to whom I refer in the song "God." I am not referring to Jesus' Divine Father termed the "holy Parent, the completely perfect Forethought, the image of the Invisible One, that is, the Father of everything, through him everything came into being, the first Humanity," again from Meyers. In this translation Jesus frequently refers to himself as "the Child of Humanity." [Tori Amos: Piece by Piece - 2005]

At the time of recording Under the Pink while we were in New Mexico, I was learning about pre-contact America. This earth is a protagonist in the southwest, and if you are open and willing to listen to history from her point of view, and that of the native people from that area, it can open your mind. While the east coast Native American population was making contact with European Protestant beliefs, South America, Central America and what became out American Southwest, was exposed to European Catholic beliefs. In the name of God, men and women have committed violent acts believing their God will be pleased by this, and not only protect them, but reward them. This song was not only questioning those beliefs, but the God who has inspired that violent and hateful devotion. [Under the Pink Deluxe Edition liner notes - 2015]

Live Versions

February 11, 1994 - Los Angeles, California
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

November 9, 1994 - Montreal, Canada
Under the Pink Live in Montreal

June 27, 1998 - Pilton, England
Glastonbury Festival

September 24, 1999 - Las Vegas, Nevada

August 23, 2003 - Wantagh, New York

June 15, 2007 - Seinajoki, Finland
Provinssirock Festival

"God" / "Tubular Bells" / "Running Up That Hill"
November 29, 2017 - Phoenix, Arizona

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