Section 0
Principles of Health

Part 4g
Seventh Law of Health - Water


Livestock and wild animals know what to do when physical sickness strikes. They have been observed eating certain plants. Seeking out a stream or lake, they will bathe in the water, or lay in it, to treat their injuries.

A dog, bitten on the head by a rattlesnake, first killed the snake, then went to a nearby creek where he lay in the water off and on for a week. He recovered completely.

Water is one of the most valuable helpers you have in the daily task of keeping yourself in health or in recovering health when it is lost.

How very important it is that you drink enough water each day! Your kidneys alone filter about 50 gallons of fluid a day. In a 24-hour period, more than 8 quarts of digestive juices flow into the digestive tract. Much of this water is recycled over and over again by your kidneys. But about 2 to 4 quarts of water a day are lost through the urine, lungs, or perspiration. For this reason, if you do not keep drinking water, your kidneys cannot perform their function well, and kidney disease results.

It has been found that water intake can increase physical endurance and ability to work by as much as 80%. When you do not drink enough water, your blood thickens and flows with greater difficulty. This can cause trouble not only in your body tissues and organs, but also to your heart that must pump that sludged blood.

So many people eat far too much salt, sugar, and protein, yet each of these substances requires additional water to process.

In late 1986, the World Health Organization officially stated that the incidence of illness around the globe would fall by 80% if people in the developing nations had access to pure drinking water.

Lack of water not only affects health; it affects work production as well. Athletes, in particular, find that a slight decrease in fluid will greatly affect performance.

It is generally recommended that we drink 8 glasses of water a day. But it is best if you not drink it with your meals, but between them. The very best times for water drinking is first thing upon arising in the morning, and then 30 minutes or so before each meal. One or two warm glasses of water about a half hour before breakfast will help cleanse the stomach and sharpen the appetite. Small amounts drunk from time to time throughout the remainder of the day are also helpful.

But do not drink too much water. It will thin your blood too much and make you light-headed. If in doubt, keep in mind that there is less danger in drinking a little too much than in not drinking enough.

Some people drink hot water or cold water drinks with their meal, but this hinders the digestion of the food even more than drinking lukewarm water at mealtime.

The drinking water should be pure, but this is becoming more difficult to obtain. This is unfortunate. One solution is to purchase a reliable water distiller for your home. This will clean the water. Distilled water will not hurt you; only help you, if you are eating a good diet so that you are obtaining your proper amounts of calcium and other minerals from your food. In contrast, regular water often contains an excess of inorganic sodium, chlorine, sulfur, fluorine, iron, chromium, lead, and other undesirable minerals—and in far greater amounts than the body could possible use. We can be thankful that small, inexpensive home distillers are now easily available.

Joseph M. Price, M.D., has done careful research into the relationship of chlorinated water to atherosclerosis in the arteries. He found so much evidence that he wrote a book about it, entitled, Coronaries/Cholesterol/Chlorine. For example, after seven months every chicken fed chlorinated water had developed atherosclerosis, while no chickens fed pure water had it. Here is another interesting fact: American soldiers killed in the Korean War averaged 75% with evidence of coronary atherosclerosis, yet had an average age of only 22! In order to avoid disease, the water given the soldiers in Korea had been very heavily chlorinated.

Cadmium in water increases high blood pressure. Dr. Henry Schroeder has established that people who die of high blood pressure complications tend to have an unusually high level of cadmium in their kidneys. And this most frequently occurs in certain cities with higher cadmium content in the drinking water.

Lead, copper, and sulfur can also be dangerous. Zinc in the water helps to protect the body against cadmium and copper. Patients with either hypertension or atherosclerotic heart disease or an old myocardial infraction generally have higher copper and lower zinc levels in the serum and toenail samples, according to the World Health Organization.

If you have the choice, when drinking water from pipes, it is better to drink hard water than soft water. The hard water, which mainly has calcium and magnesium in it, will lower your chances of acquiring cardiovascular and kidney diseases. The "Journal of the American Medical Association" for October 7, 1974, reported on Monroe County, Florida, where, by changing its source, the hardness of the drinking water was dramatically increased from 0.5 ppm to 200 ppm. "The death rates from cardiovascular disease dropped from a range of 500 to 700 to a range of 200 to 300 only four years after the increase in water hardness."

Oddly enough, you can purchase water-softening equipment and supplies,—but no one sells anything to artificially harden it. Hard water results primarily from the presence of calcium and magnesium salts in the water, while softness is due to the absence of these salts. These two minerals help protect the water from absorbing dangerous minerals from the ground—or from pipes.

The average person will, by the age of 75, have drunk 20,000 gallons of water. Stop and think about it for a moment—and you will agree with the statement of scientists that this is the "water planet." Not only is six tenths of its surface covered by water, but water is the essential factor that makes all life possible. No plant, animal, or living organism can survive long without it.

"When we come to the individual need for water, it is readily realized that water is certainly our most precious mineral. It is the most essential of all minerals for our bodies. An animal can lose all its fat, about half its protein,—but if it loses as much as one-tenth of its water, it will die."—Jonathan Forman, M.D., in "Water and Man."

Your body is 60% water. The countless millions of cells inside of you are constantly being bathed in water. And this is not merely a soaking process, but a rewashing activity done by your blood stream. Water in the blood brings nutrition and oxygen to your tissues, and carries off wastes. If injury occurs, coagulants come out of the fluid and stop the bleeding, while white blood cells emerge from the blood stream and begin attacking poisonous substances. Delicate chemical balances are maintained by the flowing blood, as hormones, digestive substances, and many other vital substances are transported through the body fluids to their appointed place.

It is no wonder that this most precious commodity should be needed by mankind—not only inside but outside as well.

Frequent bathing is a very important health practice. It should be done at least once a week, but a daily bath or shower is even better. Warm baths relax; hot baths prepare for cold ones and strengthen and invigorate; all baths help cleanse the skin. There are millions of tiny pores—little mouths—that open out onto your skin. Bathing cleans them and removes the impurities that they bring to the surface.

But, in all your consideration of the values of water, do keep in mind that a better use of water must be accompanied by corresponding improvements in the diet also.

"Rest, freedom from care, light, pure air, pure water, and spare diet, are all that they need to make them well."—2 Selected Messages, p. 458.


Now let us turn our attention to one of the marvelous uses of water: hydrotherapy. In our book, The Water Therapy Manual (see book store), we present the various principles involved in giving simple water treatments to the sick. But, just now, let us summarize some of what is included in this science of water therapy:

Hydrotherapy has been used for thousands of years, for it is generally available, so dramatically helps many sicknesses, and is easy to apply. In 1747, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, wrote a textbook on hydrotherapy. Vincent Priessnitz, a Silesian peasant, was the first to organize these simple folk remedies into a science. He successfully treated so many people with hot and cold water that he became well-known throughout Europe. Unfortunately, he wrote nothing. The first modern water therapy textbook originated in Bavaria in 1886. Like Priessnitz, Sebastian Kneipp had been frail as a child and youth, and attained unusual physical stamina through the use of water therapy. When he began treating the sick, thousands flocked to him from all over the continent. His classic book on the subject, My Water Cure. Kneipp's hope was that his book would help people throughout the world. And it did. The English edition alone underwent fifty printings in its first ten years.

Water-cure establishments, or "hydros," sprang up all over Germany and Europe, later spreading to the United States. In the late 1800s, Dr. J. Winternitz, of Vienna, discovered that hydrotherapy worked because of its direct and indirect effects on the nervous system. The temperature of the water, the percussion of the water, and the body part receiving it determined how it would help the body. By 1906, Dr. John H. Kellogg, in the United States, has written his mammoth "Rational Hydrotherapy," the first scientific text on this subject, and for depth of coverage has not been surpassed to this day.

Here is a brief description of what some of these simple water treatments are like. There would not, of course, be room in this brief tract to explain how to give them all. But we will include some excerpts from our full-length book, The Water Therapy Manual (see book store).

LOCAL BATHS—Hot, cold, or alternate hot and cold water may be applied to most any part of the body to produce desired effects. The alternate hot and cold bath is one of the most frequently used. Simply fill two containers larger than the part to be treated, and fill with hot and cold water. Then immerse the body part in hot, then cold water. The usual interval is 3 minutes in the hot and then 1 minute in the cold; repeat this three times, ending with cold.

SITZ BATHS—This is the "sitting bath," and is very helpful for problems of the lower abdomen or pelvic region, including menstrual disorder, diseases of the uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes, prostatitis, constipation, and digestive disorders. There are several kinds of Sitz Baths and, when needed suddenly, they can be invaluable. Two large galvanized or plastic tubs are used in giving them. For maximum benefit, these baths must be done several times a day, depending on the person's condition. The effect is to increase the circulation of blood and lymph to the pelvic region, remove internal congestion, and improve tissue vitality and nutrition.

THE WET SHEET PACKS—The Wet Sheet Pack is used with many acute diseases, especially conditions with fever or due to toxemia. As a result of the pack, if continued 3 hours or all night, the fever will have been aided in its work by increased elimination and thus be lowered due to decreased need, by the body, for the fever. Do not reuse the sheet used for a prolonged Wet Sheet Pack without first washing it, since it contains many toxins.

FOMENTATIONS—Where prolonged heat is needed, the pack is replenished frequently, as with continuous cold compresses. The duration of the Fomentation depends on the temperature of this hot compress and the effect desired. The effect of local heat stops pain, draws healing blood, and helps induce sound, restful sleep. This application of moist heat to the body is excellent for chest congestion due to colds, bronchitis, or pleurisy.

ENEMAS—This old-fashioned home treatment has proven to be a great help to many people over the years. Waste matter is primarily eliminated from the body through the bowel, bladder, skin, and lungs. A person who is sick has more wastes than normal to expel, and an Enema or colonic is very helpful in eliminating them.

Here are two sample water treatments. They are quoted from the author's book, The Water Therapy Manual (see book store).


WHAT IT IS—A Cold Compress is a local application of cold given by means of a cloth wrung out of cold water. Either hand towels or cotton cloths may be used.

HOW IT CAN HELP YOU—The Cold Compress is very helpful in cases of fever, pain due to edema or trauma (such as sprains). And they are used for congestion in the sinuses and for congestive headaches (for both of these, use a Cold Compress along with a Hot Foot Bath). In addition, they are helpful for tachycardia (heartbeat over a 100 per minute).


1—Use Turkish towels to protect the bedding, as well as his clothing, from becoming wet.

2—Fold the towels (or cloth) to a desired size, then dip into cold water and wring them out—but only enough to prevent dripping. (Better: Take the wet cloths off a block of ice and quickly apply them. In this way the compresses will be far colder.)

3—Lay them on the afflicted part.

4—Change the compress for a fresh cold one every 1-5 minutes. A set of two compresses will be needed so they can be continually alternated. If this is not done, the compress quickly warms up. The thicker the compress, the less often will it have to be changed for a new one.

5—Cold compresses can be placed on the head, neck, over the heart or lungs, and to the abdomen, spine, etc. When applied to the head, they need to be pressed down firmly—especially over the forehead and temporal arteries (these arteries are to the right and left of the forehead, just above and to the front of the ears). The compresses can be placed over the abdomen in typhoid fever.

ADDITIONAL POINTS—Unless the application is quite thick, and always when it is left on too long (over 3-5 minutes), the application changes from a cold compress to a heating compress. And when you are applying a Cold Compress, you do not want it to turn into a Heating Compress!

WHAT IT IS—These are applications of cold cloths, covered with flannel, to a body area. The body reacts and heats up the pack and the result is improved circulation and a better flow of healing blood in and out of the afflicted area.


WHAT IT IS—This is a cold compress that is so covered up that warming soon takes place. The effect produced is that of a mild, prolonged application of moist heat.

HOW IT CAN HELP YOU—Gradually, over several hours, a throat compress can reduce inflammation and bring healing to a body part. A cold, wet cloth is placed about the throat, then covered with dry flannel to prevent air circulation, thus increasing body heat in that area. Mothers will often place a heating compress on a child with a sore throat in the evening and take it off the next morning. The compress should be dry by then.

PROBLEMS IT CAN HELP SOLVE—The Throat Compress is a very common household remedy for sore throat, hoarseness, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, quinsy, and eustachian tube inflammation.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED—2 or 3 thicknesses or ordinary cotton cloth about 3 inches wide and long enough to encircle the neck twice. Two thicknesses of flannel not less than 4 inches wide. Safety pins. Possibly a piece of bandage.


1—Prepare your materials for the neck compress. If it is to go on one who is too frail to warm up, then use a Dry Throat Compress, which is prepared in the same manner as the regular Heating Throat Compress, but without first wringing the cold water from it.

2—In giving a regular Heating Throat Compress, wring cold water from the cotton cloth, and place it around the neck. This should be about 2-3 thicknesses about the neck.

3—Cover it well with the flannel (single or double thickness, depending on the weight of the material). Fit the flannel snugly, but not too tightly that it will be uncomfortable. Pin it securely.

4—In tonsillitis, quinsy, and inflammation of the eustachian tube, the compress should extend upward about the lower part of the ear. You may need to hold up this part of the compress (that is by the lower part of the ear) with a bandage that is fastened to it and goes over the top part of the head and back down to it on the other side.

5—Remove it the next morning. It should be entirely dry. When first put on, it can be quite wet but should not drip. But the next morning it must be dry.

6—As soon as you have removed the compress, rub the neck with a cloth wrung out of cold water.


"In health and in sickness, pure water is one of heaven's choicest blessings. Its proper use promotes health. It is the beverage which God provided to quench the thirst of animals and man. Drunk freely, it helps to supply the necessities of the system, and assists nature to resist disease. The external application of water is one of the easiest and most satisfactory ways of regulating the circulation of the blood. A cold or cool bath is an excellent tonic. Warm baths open the pores, and thus aid in the elimination of impurities. Both warm and neutral baths soothe the nerves and equalize the circulation.

"But many have never learned by experience the beneficial effects of the proper use of water, and they are afraid of it. Water treatments are not appreciated as they should be, and to apply them skillfully requires work that many are unwilling to perform. But none should feel excused for ignorance or indifference on this subject. There are many ways in which water can be applied to relieve pain and check disease. All should become intelligent in its use in simple home treatments. Mothers, especially, should know how to care for their families in both health and sickness."—Ministry of Healing, p. 237.

"Taken with meals, water diminishes the flow of the salivary glands; and the colder the water, the greater the injury to the stomach. Ice water or iced lemonade, drunk with meals, will arrest digestion until the system has imparted sufficient warmth to the stomach to enable it to take up its work again."—Review, July 29, 1884.

"Food should not be washed down; no drink is needed with meals. Eat slowly, and allow the saliva to mingle with the food. The more liquid there is taken into the stomach with the meals, the more difficult it is for the food to digest; for the liquid must be first absorbed . . Hot drinks are debilitating; and besides, those who indulge in their use become slaves to the habit . . Do not eat largely of salt; give up bottled pickles; keep fiery spiced food out of your stomach; eat fruit with your meals, and the irritation which calls for so much drink will cease to exist. But if anything is needed to quench thirst, pure water, drunk some little time before or after a meal, is all that nature requires . . Water is the best liquid possible to cleanse the tissues."—Review, July 29, 1884.

"I am advising the people wherever I go to give up liquid food as much as possible."—Unpublished Testimonies, October 29, 1894.

"Twice a week . . take a general bath, as cool as will be agreeable, a little cooler every time, until the skin is toned up."—1 Testimonies, p. 702.

"Bathe frequently in pure soft water, followed by gentle rubbing."—Healthful Living, p. 192.

"Upon rising in the morning, most persons would be benefited by taking a sponge bath, or, if more agreeable, a hand bath, with merely a wash bowl of water; this will remove impurities from the skin."—Healthful Living, p. 192.

"Frequent bathing is very beneficial, especially at night just before retiring, or upon rising in the morning."—Healthful Living, p. 192.

"Bathing frees the skin from the accumulation of impurities which are constantly collecting, and keeps the skin moist and supple, thereby increasing and equalizing the circulation."—Healthful Living, p. 789.

"See that the children have a daily bath, followed by friction till their bodies are aglow."—Counsels on Health, p. 103.

"Persons in health should on no account neglect bathing. They should by all means bathe as often as twice a week. Those who are not in health have impurities in the blood, and the skin is not in a healthy condition. The multitude of pores, or little mouths, through which the body breathes, become clogged and filled with waste matter. The skin needs to be carefully and thoroughly cleansed, that the pores may do their work in freeing the body from impurities; therefore feeble persons who are diseased surely need the advantages and blessings of bathing as often as twice a week, and frequently even more than this is positively necessary. Whether a person is sick or well, respiration is more free and easy if bathing is practiced. By it, the muscles become more flexible, the mind and body are alike invigorated, the intellect is made brighter, and every faculty becomes livelier. The bath is a soother of the nerves. It promotes general perspiration, quickens the circulation, overcomes obstructions in the system, and acts beneficially on the kidneys and urinary organs. Bathing helps the bowels, stomach, and liver, giving energy and new life to each. It also promotes digestion, and instead of the system being weakened it is strengthened. Instead of increasing the liability to cold, a bath, properly taken, fortifies against cold because the circulation is improved, and the uterine organs, which are more or less congested, are relieved; for the blood is brought to the surface, and a more easy and regular flow of the blood through all the blood vessels is obtained."—3 Testimonies, pp. 70-71.

"Upon rising in the morning, most persons would be benefited by taking a sponge bath, or, if more agreeable, a hand bath, with merely a wash bowl of water. This will remove impurities from the skin."—2 Selected messages, p. 463.

"If the garments worn are not frequently cleansed from impurities, the pores of the skin absorb again the waste matter thrown off. The impurities of the body, if not allowed to escape, are taken back into the blood and forced upon the internal organs. Nature, to relieve herself of poisonous impurities, makes an effort to free the system, which effort produces fevers and what is termed disease."—Healthful Living, p. 206.

"Nature, to relieve herself of poisonous impurities, makes an effort to free the system, which effort produces the fevers and what is termed disease. But even then, if those who are afflicted would assist nature in her efforts by the use of pure, soft water, much suffering would be prevented."—Healthful Living, p. 228.

"Why need anyone be ignorant of God's remedies—hot water fomentations and cold and hot compresses. It is important to become familiar with the benefit of dieting in the case of sickness."—2 Selected Messages, p. 290.

"Water can be used in many ways to relieve suffering. Drafts of clear, hot water taken before eating (half a quart, more or less), will never do any harm, but will rather be productive of good. A cup of tea made from catnip herb will quiet the nerves. Hop tea will induce sleep. Hop poultices over the stomach will relieve pain. If the eyes are weak, if there is pain in the eyes, or inflammation, soft flannel cloths wet in hot water and salt, will bring relief quickly. When the head is congested, if the feet and limbs are put in a bath with a little mustard, relief will be obtained. There are many more simple remedies which will do much to restore healthful action to the body. All these simple preparations the Lord expects us to use for ourselves."—2 Selected Messages, p. 297.

"Keep the patient free from excitement, and every influence calculated to depress. Her attendants should be cheerful and hopeful. She should have a simple diet, and should be allowed plenty of pure soft water to drink. Bathe frequently in pure soft water followed by gentle rubbing. Let the light, and air, be freely admitted into her room. She must have quiet, and undisturbed rest."—2 Selected Messages, p. 446.

"The impurities of the body, if not allowed to escape are taken back into the blood, and forced upon the internal organs. Nature, to relieve herself of poisonous impurities, makes an effort to free the system, which effort produces fevers, and what is termed disease. But even then, if those who are afflicted would assist nature in her efforts, by the use of pure, soft water, much suffering would be prevented. But many, instead of doing this, and seeking to remove the poisonous matter from the system, take a more deadly poison into the system, to remove a poison already there."—2 Selected Messages, p. 460.


Not only our bodies need washing, our souls need it as well. We are to be washed by the Word, as we daily study in the Bible. It brings cleansing and strength. "He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions." (Psalm 107:20). "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom." (Colossians 3:16).

"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2 Peter 1:4).

There is cleansing power in studying Scripture. By doing it daily, we receive an ongoing washing through the Word. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word." (Psalm 119:9). "Now are ye clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." (John 15:3).

This occurs as we pray for help, learn anew His Word,—and bring it into our souls by living it out in our lives each day. "Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee." (Psalm 119:11). "By the words of Thy lips, I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer." (Psalm 17:4).

While Jesus was here on earth, He also gave us another example—if we would follow in His steps:

"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him." (Matthew 3:13). He was baptized by John the Baptist, not because He had sinned, but as an example to us. The Father was pleased with what He had done (Matthew 3:17).

Then Jesus later commanded His disciples to baptize converts from all nations. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (Matthew 28:19).

This is a command of Jesus which we are to follow, after learning God's special truths in Scripture and dedicating our lives to Him.

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5).

John was baptized at Aenon, "because there was much water there" (John 3:23). Jesus, our example, "went up straightway out of the water" (Matthew 3:16). It is obvious that this was baptism by immersion, not merely sprinkling. Had John used sprinkling, one pail of water would have sufficed for a great host of people. Philip and the eunuch also went into, and came out of, the water (Acts 8:36-39). Philip had immersed the man in a pool of water by the side of the road.

The very word, "baptize" comes from the Greek word, "baptizo," which means "dip under," "immerse," or "plunge under." The meaning is definitely not "sprinkle" or "pour."

It is clear, from the Bible, that baptism represents a complete death to the old way of life, a burial with Christ, and a rising with Him out of death into a new life. The "old man of sin" is dead and, rising, we become a "new creature" in Christ. This is the meaning of baptism—which obviously must be by immersion. Read this carefully:

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

"For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Romans 6:3-6).

"By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you . . how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." (1 Corinthians 15:2-4).

"Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead." (Colossians 2:12).

Before baptism, the candidate must be carefully taught (Matthew 28:19-20); he must believe (Mark 16:16); he must repent of his sins (Acts 2:38); he must be willing to die to sin (Romans 67:3, 11-13); He must be ready to live for God (Romans 6:11, 13).

In addition to baptism, there is another water service that we are to perform: the ordinance of foot washing, in connection with the Lord's Supper. God's plan is for us to keep, in memory, Christ's death and resurrection, and our baptism into it.

Some think that Sunday must be kept holy in commemoration of Christ's resurrection. but, according to Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:2-4, quoted above), the ordinance which commemorates Christ's resurrection is Baptism. In addition to baptism, the Lord's Supper commemorates Christ's death.

"The Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me." (1 Corinthians 11:23-24).

"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till He come." (1 Corinthians 11:26).

"If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7). "And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:3).

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