I've come up with an interesting metaphorical concept that I felt like sharing: The Water of Life can be seen as a metaphor for The Golden Path.
The Water of Life is described as an "awareness spectrum narcotic" (as is melange), which as we know offers a heightened sense of awareness, Other Memory, etc. etc. Also note the admonishment that many men have tried and failed/died.
So, let's compare this to the Corrino line, each one no doubt trying to be the one truly remembered above them all...and that one ultimately being Shaddam IV in his failure to keep his own throne.
Next we have the agony of the transformation of the Water of Life. The potential Reverend Mother transforms the poison after a considerable ordeal, then the transformed Water becomes the catalyst for changing the rest of the Water so the sietch can drink it and become "aware" for awhile.
Compare this to Leto II. His oppression of his subjects serves as a catalyst for them, showing them the danger of the God-Emperor concept. Sure there was similar oppression under Paul and Alia, but the exposure of the flaws, i.e. Alia's descent into Abomination and Paul's Jihad were either more locally confined happenings or a less extreme form of the oppression, respectfully. So Leto undertook the ultimate ordeal, oppressing his empire, but with a benevolent outcome in mind, to set them free.
In effect the populace became the metaphorical potential Reverend Mother, suffering through this ordeal until becoming "aware" finally of the flaws of the system, thus triggering The Scattering. Paul's Jihad and Alia's madness could be seen as the initial poison, then Leto's oppression was the catalyst of the changed waters, spreading the realization that had occured on Arrakis throughout the rest of the Imperium.