Peter Popoff’s ‘Miracle Spring Water’
March 14th, 2019
Editor’s Note: Updates have been posted at the end of this article.
If you’ve watched any television in the last, oh, 30-something years, you’ve probably glimpsed Peter Popoff on your screen. A popular televangelist in the 1980s, Popoff can now be seen in commercials touting his “miracle spring water.” In one recent ad, above, “real people with real needs” claim to have received checks totaling as much as $45,000 after sending for the water — without any indication of where the checks came from, which thoroughly confused TINA.org reader Chuck S.
“These gifts are said to be miracles,” Chuck wrote to TINA.org. “How can someone receive a check as a miracle? Checks have to be drawn on an account belonging to someone.”
Yet Popoff seems to ignore this basic accounting truth.
“This faith tool (that is, the miracle spring water, which, according to GQ, is Poland Spring with a splash of holy water) will help you to see liberation from the bondage of debt,” Popoff says in the ad. “It’s free. I want to send it to you, no obligation. Call me now.”
We could have written this off as an obvious scam but given that Popoff has such a colorful past (he was one of the first to enter our Wall of Shame in 2012), we decided to take a closer look. We ordered the water in October 2018. Here’s what happened next.
Within a couple weeks, the water arrived in the mail, along with a long letter from Popoff in which he prophesied that “a sudden release of money … somewhere between $1,900 and $19,000” was headed our way. All we had to do was use the water as directed and one other small thing. “SEND EXACTLY $19.00,” Popoff wrote. “Because 1 is the number of the Father … and 9 is the number of NEW BIRTH.” Sure, why not? We sent the $19.
About a month later, we received a response from Popoff thanking us for the “seed-gift of $19.00,” which we were assured would soon bring us “a bountiful Harvest of Great Blessings.” Popoff said to let him know as soon as that happens. Well, it’s been more than five months since we initially sent for the miracle spring water and we’re still waiting for our check. In the meantime, we’ve accumulated many additional requests from Popoff for varying amounts of money (which may help to explain how he’s able to afford a multimillion-dollar home, according to GQ). Here are a few of the additional appeals for cash we’ve received from Popoff, each from a different letter:
- OBEY GOD IN SOWING A SEED OF $27.00. If you have to borrow it, or let something go for a few days. . . DO IT! I SEE A NEW ENDEAVOR THAT WILL BRING MAGNIFICENT REWARDS IN 3 MONTHS FROM THE DAY YOU OBEY GOD IN THIS. (Bottom of page 7.)
- STEP 4 — Psalm 34:19 is the key to unlocking your MIRACLE PROVISION. Open your check book and write a check in the amount of $34.19 and write “MY MIRACLE SEED” in the memo. If you want to sow a seed for a loved one, write a second check for $34.19 and write “MIRACLE SEED for a loved one” in the Memo. If you send an additional check, I will prophetically seek the Lord on their behalf — as well as yours. (Top of page 12.)
- … I feel led of God as His Prophet of Prosperity… to ask you in Jesus’ Name to sow a seed with the Number 8 in it … and the seed God showed me is $28.00. … Don’t let satan talk you out of sowing this $28.00 SEED OF NEW BEGINNINGS… (Bottom of page 9.)
- Try and write back within 24 hours. There are further Prophetic Instructions I must share with you when I receive your “Worthy Portion” offering of $33 and your prayer page back this week. (Middle of page 4.)
- As God’s prophet of increase… I am directed to ask you to sow a seed of $40.00. This is the seed God will use to break loose your harvest of miracles. (Middle of page 10.)
Several of these letters came with objects Popoff said would help spark our financial miracle. They included a green prayer cloth (one of four color varieties, see below), which Popoff said to “saturate … with positive thoughts of money windfalls and opportunities,” and a wristband with several $1,000s printed on it that we were instructed to wear for exactly 8 minutes. Here’s a gallery of the items:
To date, Popoff has solicited more than $300 from us and still we have not received any miracle money. In fact, it appears that all the checks are designed to flow in Popoff’s direction.
As previously mentioned, Popoff has something of a checkered history — to put it mildly. In the late 1980s he was exposed as a fraud on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” (Turned out, an earpiece through which his wife fed him information about audience members was instrumental in procuring the divine secrets he shared about them on stage.) But it didn’t take long for Popoff to bounce back, even after he was forced into bankruptcy. By the late 1990s the self-proclaimed prophet had risen from the ashes.
The ad above debuted in March 2016 and has aired more than 4,300 times at a cost of $6.3 million, according to ad-tracking firm iSpot.tv. Two of the channels on which the ad runs most frequently are BET and WE TV, a network whose programming is geared towards women.
TINA.org reached out to Popoff for comment. Check back for updates.
8/25/20: With the national unemployment rate over 10 percent, Peter Popoff has upped his initial money request, from $19 to $37. After ordering Popoff’s “miracle spring water” for a second time, TINA.org received a letter in the mail requesting $37 because “3 signifies the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit… and 7 is God’s perfect number.” Previously, when Popoff asked for $19 (see above), it was because “1 is the number of the Father … and 9 is the number of NEW BIRTH.”
4/28/20: Peter Popoff still wants to send you his “miracle spring water,” only now, in the middle of a pandemic when many people could use a miracle, he doesn’t want you to drink it. At least that’s according to his website, which warns in red capital letters: “DO NOT INGEST THE MIRACLE SPRING WATER.” However, this message has not made its way to the people in Peter Popoff’s commercials, who continue to say things like, “I had called and asked for the miracle spring water and I drunk it. I end up getting a check for $7,000.” And: “Get the spring water, drink the spring water or whatever you need to do with it. It really works.” But does it? The website also says there is “nothing magical or mystical” about the MIRACLE spring water.