As singer-songwriter Laura Marling hiked up through the pre-dawn dark to fill a bottle with water from a Mount Shasta river, it occurred to her that she was following instructions from a stranger. A man. A much older man. And not just any older man — a self-proclaimed shaman. Whom she had met in a bar. He had said that the water would give her everlasting life.

It then occurred to her that the only one person in the world who would know her current location, out in this unfamiliar darkness, was that very same stranger who had sent her there. What a risk she was taking. There, between gigs on her 2013 tour, she felt suddenly exposed. Vulnerable.

What happened next?

Find out in my latest edition of Listening Closer, my music column over at Christ and Pop Culture.