"AND God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto
one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry
land earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he seas: and God saw
that it was good." Genesis 1:9-10
'We have about 326 million cubic miles of water covering 70 per cent of our
planet. There is in addition an untold amount of ground water and water vapor in
the atmosphere. For the last 6,000 years of earth's history this same water
supply has been recycling itself through an endless process of evaporation,
condensation, and precipitation. All along the way it services and nourishes
every form of plant and animal life. It unselfishly brings its blessings,
lingers until its job is done and then departs, many times carrying a load of
waste materials which it kindly delivers to some other life form down the line
as useful food.
Water is the most common molecule in the human body. Adults are about 45-75
percent water, depending on the percentage of body fat--fat cells contain less
water than muscle cells. Muscle tissue, about 50-70 percent water, contains
approximately 1/2 of the water found in the body. No wonder one feels weak when
short of water. Blood is up to 80 percent water, brain gray matter 70-85 percent
and bones 20-33 percent. Approximately five eighths of the body water is inside
the cells and three eighths is outside, between the cells and in the
Respiration, digestion, circulation, glandular secretion, temperature
regulation, waste elimination, and virtually every body function, require water.
Water helps to lubricate, insulate, protect, and give flexibility to the
muscles, ligaments, and joints.
We also need water on the outside. The days of the "weekly bath, whether
needed or not," are gone. Even if we do not get obviously dirty from manual
labor outdoors, our pores are constantly at work secreting perspiration, body
oils, and wastes. Thus our skin is benefited and our overall health improved by
daily bathing, either in a tub or shower. Even washing the body with a washcloth
while standing at the sink will do.
Water is even more than a nutrient and a cleanser. Its many uses externally
as a tonic, stimulant, sedative, and healing agent make it nature's elixir, if
there ever was one. Warm water is relaxing. A short, cold bath or shower tends
to stimulate. Prolonged cold depresses.
Water, in all its forms, (ice, liquid, and steam) can be used to make thermic
impressions on the skin. As these temperature changes are sensed by the nerves
in the skin, they cause profound reactions all through the body that have a
direct effect on health and healing. There are whole books written on the
subject of "hydrotherapy" or "water treatment," as it is
One example of such a treatment is the use of ice packs to lessen the
swelling of an acute strain or sprain. After the initial trauma has subsided,
alternating hot and cold applications to the affected area increase the
circulation, thus bringing in fresh blood to repair the damage and to carry away
wastes, speeding up the healing process and lessening pain.
Infections and inflammations can also be treated with alternating hot and
cold. The hot and cold also stimulates the action of the germ-killing white
blood cells, helping them to do their job better.
A congestion headache, or almost any pain caused by congestion or swelling,
can be treated by applying cold over the affected area while at the same time
immersing the feet in hot water up over the ankles. The cold tends to
"push" the congestion away while the heat draws or "pulls"
it away, thus equalizing the circulation and reducing the swelling and pain.1
The body recycles all but about 10 of the 40,000
glasses of water that it uses every day. About 400 gallons
of blood pass through the kidneys each day, and about 50
gallons is actually filtered. Of this amount only about 56
cups of water are lost in the urine. Another 2 cups is
exhaled through the lungs in the form of water vapor, half a
cup is lost through the bowels and 2 cups are evaporated from the skin
through the 2 million sweat glands located there. Of the 10 cups of water lost
per day, we gain about three cups in the food we eat and another one and a half
is available as a byproduct of energy metabolism. This leaves five and a half
cups of water per day that must he replaced by drinking water. Of course this is
the minimum requirement. Ills a healthful idea to drink more than that to insure
that we have all we need.
Several factors can increase our daily need of water. Living in a hot, dry
climate or at higher altitudes, as well as physical exercise and sickness, can
increase our need by 80 percent or more. An excessive amount of salt, sugar, or
protein in the diet requires more water to process. Vomiting, diarrhea,
lactation, and even a runny nose increase water loss and must be replaced by
Symptoms of dehydration (not having enough water) include thirst, dry mouth,
lethargy, mental confusion, reduced skin elasticity, sunken eyes, fever, scanty
dark urine, accumulation of urea, creatinine and sodium in the blood, thickening
of the blood, shock, constipation, kidney and bladder infections and stones, and
elevated hemoglobin/hematocrit readings. A 20 percent water loss usually spells
death. Thirst is not necessarily a good guide in insuring that we are drinking
enough. We usually need more water than we realize.
A systematic approach to water drinking is best. Here is one suggestion.
Drink 2 glasses (16 oz.) upon arising. This is a good internal cleanser first
thing in the morning. Then, another 2 glasses midmorning and 2 more
mid-afternoon. Another way is to take a quart with you in the morning and sip it
all morning and then another quart in the afternoon and do the same. More water
than this amount may be needed, depending on the circumstances.
By increasing our water consumption we decrease the work load on the kidneys,
whose job ills to cleanse the blood. It's like washing a load of dishes in a
full kitchen sink versus doing the job in a small bowl. Much of the so-called
tired blood is probably dirty blood in need of a good internal bath.
It is best to avoid drinking anything for 10-15 minutes before eating and for
1-2 hours after meals. This practice improves digestion, as the digestive juices
are not diluted. Also, very cold water is not good to drink with meals because
it arrests digestion temporarily. Very cold water also deadens the thirst
signals so that one would tend not to drink enough. The best water to drink is
slightly warm or cool. Hot water just before meals is a good medicine when one
is sick. However, drinks like tea, coffee, cocoa,
soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages, are better avoided, as they contain
some unhealthful ingredients and actually increase thirst by acting as
diuretics. Many people prefer these beverages to the taste of their drinking
water. Bad taste is usually due to algae, minerals, gases, or organic chemicals
in the water. However, small amounts of impurities in the water are less harmful
than either reliance upon these substitute fluids, or not drinking enough water.
There are healthful herb teas that are much better than regular tea. Cereal
beverages such as Postum, Pero, and Roma have a coffee-like taste and can take
the place of regular coffee. These products contain no caffeine at all and no
caffeol (a stomach irritant) which even decaf coffee still contains.
Carob is a naturally sweet and nutritious substitute for chocolate. It can be
made into a hot-cocoa type of drink. Carob candy may or may not be a health
treat, depending on the other ingredients added to it.
For alcoholic beverages there are nonalcoholic sparkling fruit juices, or
sparkling mineral waters. These drinks will not mar that special occasion as
alcohol so often does.
Soft drinks can't win. If you take out the added caffeine, there is still the
sugar. Remove the sugar. and caffeine, and there are still the acids that
contribute to calcium excretion and bone demineralization. How about good old
water in place of the pop? An occasional fruit juice may do. But these should
not be overused because they are really a refined product. You get a heavy dose
of the fruit sugar, and sometimes a lot of added sugar as well, without the
fiber. Remember, it takes five oranges to make a glass of orange juice. Watch
out for the sodium content of some vegetable juices. Pure water is still the
best choice to drink. A little lemon or mint in a pitcher of cool water makes
normal tap water quite pleasant to drink.
There are four sources of water: precipitation (rain, snow, et cetera),
groundwater (underground reservoirs and springs), surface water (lakes, rivers,
et cetera), and seawater. Only about 3 percent of the earth's water is fresh,
but most of it is frozen in glaciers and icecaps. There is plenty of fresh water
up in the sky-about 326 million cubic miles of it. Little drinking water is
obtained directly from the sky or the oceans. We get about half from surface
sources and half from ground sources. We are almost entirely dependent upon
precipitation filling our rivers and lakes. It is estimated that around 4.2
million million gallons of rain fall on the United States each year, only 6
percent of which is used by man; 70 percent evaporates or is used where it
falls, and 24 percent returns to the sea. Surface water tends to have more
matter, plants and microorganisms; but fewer minerals than ground water.
Ground water is usually more potable than surface water, and there is much more
of it-twenty times more, the equivalent of 20 years of solid rain on this
country. About 30 percent of the surface water comes from ground water
percolating up to the top. Although only about 2 percent may be currently
considered polluted, most of it is near population centers, where it is used for
drinking. And when it does get contaminated, it takes much longer to cleanse
itself due to the lack of oxygen, sun, and movement.
About half of the water pollution problem stems from leaking gasoline storage
tanks, storm sewers, sewage treatment plants, septic tanks, and industry. The
rest comes from parking lot runoff, lawns, agriculture, and construction sites.
These sources not only affect surface water, but solvents and pesticides are
also able to slowly trickle down through the ground to the aquifers deep beneath
the earth's surface.
The age-old pollutants, viruses, bacteria, and other microbes are still with
us, producing polio, colds, flu, hepatitis, cancer, typhoid, salmonella,
cholera, amebic dysentery, shigella, myelitis, and other diseases. Many of these
organisms get into the water supply through public bathing, cesspools,
outhouses, septic leach, inadequate water treatment, and the lack of good
sanitation. Most of the time these can be controlled by proper sanitation and
chlorination. chlorine, for all the good it has done in controlling
microorganisms, may facilitate later chronic ailments. The chlorine combines
with various organic chemicals, producing chloroform and trihalogenated methanes,
which may promote athemsclerosis and cancer of the rectum, colon, and bladder.
The risk-to-benefit ratio of adding fluoride to our water (to prevent tooth
decay) is still being debated.
In view of the sheer volume of contaminants now being introduced daily into
our water supply, nature is overwhelmed in her purification efforts. Our efforts
toward dean mg up our water have not kept pace with our polluting.
Hopefully, we will see more innovative solutions to the water-pollution
problem. At least there are methods of insuring pure drinking water with
home-treatment units if these are needed or desired. But how long can we survive
if we continue to pollute at the present rate? Whatever the answer to that
question and whichever way we decide to go with our management of earth's
resources, we do have this assurance from God: Our abused earth is going to
undergo a colossal remake in which the polluted oceans will be a thing of the
past, and only pure, clear water will flow through it.
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the
first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.... And he shewed me a
pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of
God and of the Lamb." Revelation 21:1; 22:1