An update on things that leak

Remember the Amazing Water-Spouting Miracle Tree? Sure you do. In fact, you’re still using it as inspiration as you try to figure out what caused my coworker’s window to start spouting nastiness.

Well, it’s time for the mystery to be solved. Both of them — why the hell not. I’ll give you all another day to take your best shot at the Evil Window explanation, but today we’ll bust open the Miracle Tree.

After SAWS [San Antonio Water Suplly] shut off the water meter, the flow of water stopped coming out of the tree, which has attracted many visitors.

Oh my! Could it be? The tree that “baffled experts” was just tapping into a water pipe? Who would’ve guessed that? I mean, besides ME, when I guessed the other day. Clearly I used my unique psychic powers to figure out a mystery that no “experts” could figure out before. Must be my Indigo child traits.

Of course, the fact that this is tap water with a perfectly logical cause means nothing to the dopes who are still eagerly licking it up. Literally.

“I stayed praying to the tree before I got the water and I put it on my back,” said Maria Martinez. “And on my neck and on my kneees. I was so excited. And when I put it on my back, I felt the pain relief.”

She is praying to a water pipe. Do you see this, people? A grown woman is attempting to communicate with and derive favors from a water pipe. She knows it’s a water pipe, but she prays to it anyway. This is what you get when you tell people it’s okay to believe in stupid things. This woman, who is probably just as nice and sane (for some definitions of “sane”) as your next door neighbor, lives in a world where utility infrastructure systems control the universe and warp the laws of physics. Wake up! Please, for the love of all that is holy or mundane, wake up. There is not enough passion in the world to waste it worshipping a damned burst water pipe. I want to grab this woman by the shoulders and shake her until something clicks inside her brain and she realizes that the world is so much better and more beautiful and more amazing than tap water coming out of a tree, but it’s way too late for her and all the other people who refuse to see the obvious truth of the situation and continue to waste their prayers on a pipe. But it’s not too late for millions of kids, who are currently growing up either with the knowledge that the world is an incredible toy box of wonders waiting to be discovered or else with the unwavering belief that whatever absurd fantasy they like can be true if only they have enough faith. The former will be doctors and scientists helping to make the world a better place, and the latter will be praying to a fucking pipe.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. I'm off to pray at the burst BP oil pipe in Alaska, and possibly smear some of the oil on my back.

    It is strange that even after a rational (and obvious) explanation for some event comes along people can *still* think there's something otherworldly going on. At what point are we safe to say "oh, right, I was wrong" and not be harangued by the people who say what it was all along. Or am I wrong in thinking that's why people stick to their wacky beliefs in the face of evidence to the contrary?

  2. I've been known to try to communicate and derive favors from a water pipe, but that usually involved smoking from it first.

    Also, I can't be certain of the cause of the window ooze, but the rust color makes me suspect the Ginger Kids, archenemy of the Indigos, are involved.

  3. Everything that is wrong with the world is summed up in that "Praying to a Water Pipe" story and Rebecca's commentary on it.


  4. Maybe this is a good place to comment about teaching children the value of humility. It's ok to be wrong. Our focus on test score based learning leads children to the thinking that wrong answers are bad. Wrong answers are never bad, stopping at a wrong answer is bad. Learning to continue through incorrect assumptions and persist at being wrong until we arrive at a satisfactory answer is the conerstone to both science and practical living. We have to get to the point where we are willing to give up any explanation no matter how dear we hold it if a more suitable explination comes along. I'm not sure how we drive this home in schools but we have to try.

  5. Praying to a water pipe… Yep, that's pretty sad.

    I think my spiritual views have been in flux for awhile; things like this are pushing me towards at least Deism if not atheism.

  6. Say, I was happy to hear that the sacred pipe issue has been resolved for Skepchick. I’m afraid with her dependence on facts alone, she may be missing out on a whole plane of meaning conveyed by allegory. Don’t you think that seeing a pipe break exactly under a tree, which is itself an ancient holy symbol, is a little unlikely? Personally, I think that just as the roots of a tree represent our unconscious minds, the tree, with its many branches, represents the whole of humanity. We should infer some impending revelations of the most positive nature in the near future.

    The likelihood of a positive spiritual development is easily inferred from the simultaneous involvement of water and tree. Both of these symbols impart an optimistic hue to the whole event. Two such powerful and positive elements suggest a gigantic spiritual effort by those who have passed on. Does it really matter where the water comes from? From seemingly unimportant but highly coincidental occurrences we can gain much understanding. A whole new revelation is about to break forth among all men. Our understanding will increase. Our latent past life memories shall unfold and the truth shall run freely. The Left and the Right shall be reconnected and we will be whole as in the beginning. Violence among men will cease and a pervasive sense of well being will permeate all things.

  7. wright,

    Please don't let other people's credulous stupidity affect your personal spiritual views. By all means, feel free not to believe in the moronic kind of God suggested by people who believe He would communicate with us via a BROKEN WATER MAIN. I would encourage anyone NOT to believe in such a God! Not believing in THAT God doesn't mean that you are an atheist though. All it means is that you aren't a fool!

    The most spiritually meaningful realization of my life was the recognition that you shouldn't let other people define God for you. They're almost certainly going to be wrong about major parts of it. Spirituality for the skeptic is a lonely journey.

    Sermon over.

  8. True-believe syndrome at its finest. The thing that really bothers me is that it's fine to be a true believer if it's in Christianity (even Christianity-as-water-pipe), but if you don't have a few million other people with similar beliefs, you're a wacko.

    What's the difference between a nutjob, a cult, and a religion? The number of people buying it.

  9. rbounful said:

    "Don’t you think that seeing a pipe break exactly under a tree, which is itself an ancient holy symbol, is a little unlikely?"

    Why, absolutely. What with those tree roots digging into the ground and expanding little by little, growing bigger and going deeper, the odds of the tree roots of some tree somewhere coming near a water pipe and over the course of many, many years putting so much pressure on it that the pipe breaks is just …

    … too unbelievable for words.

    I mean, the odds are so astronomically small that you won't find a plumber anywhere who's ever heard of that happening. No, really! Check around!


    No your honour, I did not kill my wife, god willed the bullet out of the gun at the very instant I was holding it. It's all part of his grander scheme. We should start praying to exhibit #1 right away in the hopes of finding out what it is he wants to tell us with this most unlikeliest event.

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