From the recording Rev. Yolanda's Country Gospel Kirtan, Vol. 2: Step Back
"I Am a Pilgrim" is a traditional Christian hymn from the United States, first documented in the mid-19th century. It forms part of the repertoire of gospel, folk, and bluegrass artists.
The song combines elements from an "[o]ld hymn entwined with Poor Wayfaring Stranger (Sacred Harp - 1844). It appears in The Southern Zion's Songster (1864) and in Hymns For the Camp (1862)." The song references or alludes to several Bible passages, including "If I could touch the hem of his garment" which references Matthew 9:20 where a woman touches the hem of Jesus' robe and is healed. In July 1924 the song was first recorded by Norfolk Jubilee Quartet, an African American group. Prominent musicians such as The Byrds, Johnny Cash, and Merle Travis have recorded the song.
I Am A Pilgrim
I am a pilgrim and a stranger
Traveling through this wearisome land
And I’ve got a home in that yonder city, good Lord
And it’s not (good Lordy it’s not) not made by hand
I got a mother, a sister and a brother
Who have gone to that sweet home
And I am determined to go and see them, good Lord
Over on (good Lordy over on) that distant shore
As I go down to that river Jordan
Just to bathe my weary soul
If I could touch but just the hem of His garment, good Lord
I believe (good Lordy I believe) that it would make me whole