Soaps and detergents help the cleaning of clothes by lowering the
surface tension of the water. This allows the water to soak into pores
and dirty areas more effectively. Small insects such as the water
strider can walk on water because their weight is not enough to
penetrate the power of surface tension.
Common tent materials are somewhat rainproof because surface tension
of water will bridge the pores in the finely woven material. But if you
touch the tent material with your finger, you will break the surface
tension and the rain will drip through.
Water can defy gravity as it can "walk" up the sides of a
thin tube. The molecule is actually attracted to the side and pulls
itself up. It might take a long time to get up a thin capillary tube,
but it is working against gravity.