“Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power—these are the true remedies. Every person should have knowledge of nature’s remedial agencies and how to apply them. It is essential both to understand the principles involved in the treatment of the sick and to have a practical training that will enable one rightly to use this knowledge.” Ministry of Health, 127.
It is a God-given duty that devolves upon each one of us to keep our physical organisms healthy and strong so that we do not prematurely wear out and die of degenerative disease, and by doing so, rob God of the time and the service that are due Him. Also, recall that there is a battle going on in our minds. If we live in such a way that the mind becomes clouded, we do not have clear judgment and discernment and we cannot make the right decisions; we will ultimately receive eternal death.
You see, God has made us not just physical beings. We are also mental, spiritual, emotional, and social creatures; and all of these components interlock.
In 3 John 2, we read, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” When John wrote this, he was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; so this was God, not just John, wishing this.
Good health is not just a result of some accident, some haphazard things that we do or do not do. It is a result of intelligent planning of the way we are going to live our lives. The Lord’s counsel to us is, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31. He also tells us, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” I Corinthians 3:16.
Let us consider some ways whereby we can intelligently understand the various principles that, when practiced, keep this temple healthy and undefiled.
The following eight things are not just to treat the sick but, when applied, will prevent us from becoming sick in the first place. “Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power—these are the true remedies. Every person should have knowledge of nature’s remedial agencies and how to apply them. It is essential both to understand the principles involved in the treatment of the sick and to have a practical training that will enable one rightly to use this knowledge.” Ministry of Health, 127.
Water, as is everything else that we have, is a gift from God. Like air, it is something that we take for granted, until it starts becoming very scarce. Tragically, in the days in which we are living with all the pollution that we are experiencing, it is getting harder and harder to find a pure source of water.
The human body is 60–65 percent fluid. A loss of even 20 percent of the total volume of fluid can result in death. About two-thirds of the water volume of the body is actually in the cells of the body, with the other one-third outside the cells, namely in the circulation and the fluid that circulates around the cells themselves.
As we look at the function of the body, we find that virtually every activity that takes place inside the body is through the medium of water. Let me give you just two or three examples. How many times have you blinked since you started reading this article? You do not know; do you, because you did not even think about it? But friends, if you did not have a think film of fluid bathing the eye, you would be painfully aware every time you tried to blink. Because the Lord has made us so that we have certain glands that keep the eye bathed with fluid, we blink and we do not think about it.
Have you ever thought about trying to eat food without saliva? The Lord has given us saliva glands, however, and one of the functions of saliva is to help liquefy the food that we eat and to act as a lubricant when we swallow.
Each of the cells of the body requires nutrition to be brought to them and the waste to be removed. All of this is accomplished through the medium of water.
In addition, when the temperature outside of the body raises, water is crucial in the process of keeping the body cool. Now let me give you an example of why this is so. You see, the body of an average man can produce about 80 calories of heat an hour. That is nearly enough heat to bring a quart of ice cold water to the boiling point. Imagine that you are outside, you are in the sunshine, and the temperature is 95 degrees. You start to sweat, do you not? The sweat that comes onto the skin is not what cools you down, however; it is the effect of the water evaporating. As the water evaporates, it dissipates the heat.
For example, if you produce a quart of sweat, there is enough heat dissipated from the cooling effect produced by the evaporation of that one quart to take care of the heat produced from nearly seven quarts of water that is almost to boiling point. That is why, of course, on a hot day you need to drink plenty of water to replace that which is lost, allowing you to keep a normal temperature. This is also why, for example, when someone has a fever and their temperature goes up, you can help to cool them down by tepid-sponging them. In other words, you would not apply ice water because that would make them shiver and raise their temperature even higher. By removing them from any drafts and sponging them with slightly warm water, the evaporation will work to dissipate the heat. Start first by wetting one arm and allowing the water to gently evaporate. If they can take that without starting to chill, treat some more limbs and others areas of the body. As the water gently begins to evaporate, it takes the heat with it, which can lower the temperature.
On a hot day, if you are sweating profusely and you are not taking more fluid that you are losing, you will begin to dehydrate. As you begin to dehydrate, the body takes certain steps, as far as possible, to protect the vital organs, especially the blood stream. Though the blood stream is usually the part of the system that becomes dehydrated the last of all, nonetheless, as you become dehydrated, the blood tends to become a little more thick and heavy. At the same time, it becomes a little more impure because there is not sufficient fluid available to flush the blood through the kidneys and make it clean. As a consequence, you get a build-up of chemicals that can cloud the mind, making it dull. It is when the mind has become dull that the devil often strikes with temptation.
So you see, drinking water has something to do with our salvation. It is a component in fighting the spiritual battle.
Now, as we become dehydrated, the kidneys still work valiantly to try to keep the blood as clean as possible, but they have to do so under a tremendous strain. Because there is less fluid available, as the kidneys try to get rid of toxins and wastes, they concentrate the urine, thereby placing a strain upon them. It is like trying to wash a large load of dirty clothes with just two or three quarts of water. The water that is rinsed away is very filthy, and the clothes are still not as clean as they should be.
Now let us look at how the kidneys work to keep the blood clean.
Each of us has two kidneys that are located on either side of the spinal column. The right kidney tends to be a little lower than the left, because there is the liver that displaces it slightly. Coming down from each kidney is a ureter, which empties into the bladder.
The bladder is elastic in nature. It contains nerve endings so that when it expands to a certain point, you have the sensation of wanting to go to the bathroom.
If you do not drink adequate amounts of fluid, the urine becomes concentrated; and if this continues long term, it can lend itself to bladder infections as well as the formation of kidney stones. Incidentally, these stones can form in the bladder also. Remember that an effective way to help prevent all of these urinary problems is to drink plenty of fluids.
In the kidneys are minute little structures called nephrons. Each kidney you have has about one million of these nephrons. These nephrons have several functions. One thing they do is help regulate the amount of fluid in the system. A second function that they have is to help regulate the pH of the blood. Blood needs to be kept just slightly alkaline. If it gets either too acid or too alkaline, it is very quickly fatal.
In addition to the purification of the blood by the removal of waste and the regulation of the pH, the kidneys also help in the excretion of certain excess products, such as glucose if it reaches too high a level in the blood. They also help control and maintain the balance of certain minerals, such as sodium and potassium.
Now a question that might come into your mind is, How does the body know how much water it should conserve and how much water if should allow to pass out in the urine here in the nephron? David says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalm 139:14. It is a fact that we are marvelously made.
The blood goes to very organ of the body, including the brain. In the area of the brain is the hypothalamus. Several things take place in the hypothalamus. As blood passes through the hypothalamus, there are sensors that are able to sense the viscosity of the blood. Perhaps you have been working outside and sweating, but you have not been drinking much and you are getting dehydrated. Your blood becomes a little bit viscous. The sensors in the hypothalamus are able to detect this and they say to themselves, “The blood is getting dehydrated; we need to tell the kidneys to conserve fluid.” If the sensors do not tell the kidney, it will let that liquid go and the blood will get more viscous.
When the brain senses that the blood is viscous, the hypothalamus sends a message to the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is about the size of a pea and is situated at the base of the brain. This marvelous little gland does many things. In the back part of this gland the hormone ADH, or antidiuretic hormone, is produced. When the ADH gets to the kidney it tells the kidney to hold back, conserve the fluid. The kidney still tries to get rid of the waste, but it will do it using a minimal amount of water. As a result, concentrated urine is produced.
In the meantime, you begin to feel very thirsty so you start drinking several glasses of water. As the fluid goes into the blood stream and the blood becomes a little more diluted, the hypothalamus reduces the message to the pituitary gland, which tells the pituitary to cut back on the antidiuretic hormone. The kidney now realizes that it can let go of more fluid now.
It is just marvelous how the Lord has made us so that we can adjust to whatever is necessary in the environment.
Drinking fluid can help us meet the challenges of life. In 1952, the Swiss were attempting to climb Mt. Everest. They sent a crack team to Tibet that came within 1,000 feet of the summit of Mt. Everest when they became fatigued and had to turn back. The next day, they sent their best two climbers. They came within 1,000 feet when the fatigue got to them and they had to turn back. They just could not do it.
The next year, there was a British expedition. The British were under a physician named Dr. John Hunt, who was a physician as well as a mountain climber. Dr. Hunt knew his physiology and recognized that when people are at a high altitude, they lose more moisture through their expired air than they do at a lower altitude. He made sure that the team took stoves with them so that they could melt ice. The climbers drank between seven and eight pints of fluid a day, and they made it to the top.
For the last three days of the climb, the Swiss were getting less than one pint of water per man. As a consequence, fatigue chemicals built up in their system. Had they drunk enough fluid, they would very likely have made it to the top.
We do not climb Mt. Everest every day, but we still have challenges to face in this life; and at times they can loom before us like mountains. The Lord wants us to enjoy the best health we possible can so that we can better cope with these things. One of the ways that we can do this is to take advantage of the precious gift that He has given us—the gift of pure, clean, fresh water.
On the average, we lose about six cups of water a day through the kidneys, another two cups through the skin, one cup through the lungs, and through the bowels about one glass. That gives you about 10 glasses a day of fluid loss. We usually replace about four of these units just with the food we eat. You eat fruit, salad, and similar foods that have water in them. Also, as a by-product of oxidizing nutrients, water is produced. This totals about five units, meaning that just to maintain, we need to drink a minimum of five to six glasses of water a day, and preferably eight.
The best time to start is to drink two glasses of water when you first get up in the morning. If it is warm or hot water, it will help to regulate the bowels. Also, as well, fluid taken before the meal is better than fluid with the meal, as large amounts of fluid dilute the digestive enzymes, thus requiring that the stomach draw off a lot of that water first so the enzymes can regain their potency and start digesting the food. It is best to drink twenty minutes or so before a meal. This gives time for that fluid to be absorbed into the blood stream to come around to be used by the liver, the pancreas, and the lining of the stomach to produce the enzymes which are needed to digest food.
Friends, we need the physical water so that we can stay alive physically in this life, but we will die spiritually if we do not drink the water of life that the Lord has to give us. There are many cisterns in this world that people are seeking to drink from, but Jesus is the only cistern that has not run dry and can give us the living water. He has promised us that if we will drink of that living water now, if we will accept Him as Lord and Saviour of our lives, we have the assurance that we will drink of the living water. “And He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:1. What must that water taste like!
“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17. Are you glad that God provides us with the physical water, but above all else, friends, the spiritual water, through Christ? We have a lot to be thankful for. Praise the Lord!