Water that you shall not drink, let it flow


A is a Mexican immigrant and has lived in the United States for roughly 30 years now. They are unable to visit their homeland frequently so they find ways to reconnect with their culture through television shows like Mexican soap operas. These are typically called novellas.

The context of this piece was when we were watching a novella and one of the protagonists was caught in an affair.


A: “Y por eso dicen que Agua que no has de beber, déjala correr”

Me: ¿Y qué quiere decir eso?

A: “Bueno, digamos que por muy tentador que sea algo como el agua, si sabes que no debes beberla, evítala con todas tus fuerzas. No seas un tonto como lo fue él al ser atrapado en una aventura.”


A: And that’s why they say, “Water that you shall not drink, let it flow.

Me: “And what is that supposed to mean?”

A: “Well, let’s just say that no matter how tempting something like water is, if you know you shouldn’t drink it, avoid it with all your might. Don’t be a fool like he was by getting caught in an affair.”


Within the Mexican culture, proverbs like these are commonly used on regular conversations are are called “dichos.” This particular dicho is about love.  Dichos like the one said by A are meant to guide lovers in their relationships in the hope of helping them have a prosperous relationship. This dicho serves as a warning for lovers that are guilty of surrendering to carnal pleasures or emotional relationships with others. The warning the proverb gives is to not give into the temptations one holds and to keep it as a reminder of what to avoid in life. This proverb is typically said so that a person doesn’t “dar alas” (give wings) to anyone. To give someone wings means to give someone hope that you’re interested in them when in reality you’re not. Giving someone “wings” depicts the perpetrator as untrustworthy and unreliable and stains their reputation in the community. Overall, the proverb suggests that a short-term relationship is not worth the trouble it would cause in the future. I found this this proverb really interesting because its purpose is to serve as both a warning and reminder for lovers. I enjoyed learning this one because I know it could apply to various situations and is easy to be memorized,