opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the
bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.” —Genesis 21:19.
When Hagar was wandering in the wilderness of Beersheba with her son, she ran out of water. Abraham had given her bread and water as they
set out, but now the water was gone. The
bread may have been gone as well, but when it looked like death was imminent,
God gave them water with which they revived.
Humans can go many days, even weeks, without food, but without water, we
will die in a few short days. The
urinary system works closely with water in order to keep us healthy.
urinary system consists of two kidneys, two ureters
(tubes from the kidneys to the bladder), the bladder, and the urethra (the tube
that goes from the bladder to the outside of the body). The purpose of the urinary system is to
remove excess fluid and other substances from the body and filter out waste
products from the blood. As we learned
last month, the body processes the food we eat and extracts the nutrients to
“feed” every cell in the body. The waste
products left over go into the blood stream.
If this waste is not removed from the body, you will die. There are several organs that help remove
waste from the body, including the skin, lungs, and intestines. These other body systems
work alongside the urinary tract system in keeping chemicals and water in
kidney is shaped similar to a kidney bean and is about the size of a computer
mouse. They are placed in the rear of
the abdominal cavity, just below the ribs.
The kidneys contain tiny filtering units called nephrons
(there are about a million of these in each kidney). Each of these units consists of a small round
collection of blood capillaries and a small tube called a renal tubule. Here is what happens. The blood, full of excess water and waste
products, passes into a kidney. Now the blood
is traveling through the tiny capillaries in the nephrons. The excess water, waste, and other unneeded
chemicals cross the extremely thin wall of the capillary and into the renal
tubule. This waste and water is called
urine, and it then travels from the tubules and out of the kidney via the ureters which are about 8–10 inches (20–25 cm) long in an
adult. Gravity helps urine travel from
the kidneys to the bladder, but muscles in the ureter
walls also help force the urine in a one-way direction. Small amounts of urine drip into the bladder
about every 10 to 15 seconds. About 440
gallons (1,665 liters) of blood are filtered through the kidneys each day.
bladder is a hollow muscular organ that sits in your pelvis. The purpose of the bladder is to store urine
until you are ready to dispose of it. As
urine fills it up, the bladder gets larger and then shrinks back down when
drained. The bladder can comfortably
hold about 2 cups (16 ounces) of urine for a few hours. It is most healthy, however, to empty your
bladder as soon as you feel the urge.
muscles located at the bladder exit keep the urine from leaking out. These sphincter muscles close tightly,
keeping the fluid from flowing down the urethra. As your bladder fills, nerves from the
bladder signal the brain that you need to urinate. As you urinate, the bladder muscles contract
and the sphincter muscles relax. Urine
exits the bladder, travels down the urethra and out of the body.
are very important. You need at least one kidney to live. There are many factors that can cause the
urinary system to have problems. As we
age, our muscles lose strength and sometimes a person finds they “leak” more
easily, especially when coughing or sneezing.
Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria travel up the urethra and
into the bladder, or all the way up the ureters and
into the kidneys. An injury or illness
may prevent the kidneys from filtering the blood properly or blocking the
passage of urine. As with all systems of
the body, it is essential to have healthy eating habits and drink plenty of
fluid. Ellen White stated that,
“Catarrhal difficulties [colds], kidney disease, headache, and heart troubles
are the result of immoderate eating.” Healthful Living, 176. It may seem logical that the more water you
drink, the harder the kidneys have to work, and therefore they will wear out
sooner. In fact, the opposite is
true. The less you drink, the less fluid
circulates through your bloodstream. The
body’s cells are still producing the same amount of waste, which is dumped into
the blood. This blood, chock full of
waste products, circulates as usual through the kidneys, which have to work
harder to filter the blood, and consequently produce darker, concentrated
urine. Dehydration will therefore help
to wear out the kidneys faster, not to mention what keeping all that
concentrated waste around in your blood will do to the rest of your body! Most people do not drink enough fluids and
are walking about in a state of constant dehydration. Bottom line: drink lots of fluids, especially
pure water, to help keep your kidneys and entire body in optimum working order,
as God intended.
thou [art] my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth
for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and
thirsty land, where no water is.” Psalm 63:1.
Sheryle Beaudry, a certified teletriage
nurse, writes from Estacada, Oregon where she lives with her husband and twin daughters. She may be contacted by e-mail at