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Dictionaries :: Water

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International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia


wo'-ter (mayim; hudor):

(1) The Greek philosophers believed water to be the original substance and that all things were made from it. The Koran states, "From water we have made all things." In the story of the creation (Ge 1:2) water plays an elemental part.

(2) Because of the scarcity of water in Palestine it is especially appreciated by the people there. They love to go and sit by a stream of running water. Men long for a taste of the water of their native village (1Ch 11:17). A town or village is known throughout the country for the quality of its water, which is described by many adjectives, such as "light," "heavy," etc.

(3) The rainfall is the only source of supply of water for Palestine. The moisture is carried up from the sea in clouds and falls on the hills as rain or snow. This supplies the springs and fountains. The rivers are mostly small and have little or no water in summer. For the most part springs supply the villages, but in case this is not sufficient, cisterns are used. Most of the rain falls on the western slopes of the mountains, and most of the springs are found there. The limestone in many places does not hold the water, so wells are not very common, though there are many references to them in the Bible.

(4) Cisterns are usually on the surface of the ground and vary greatly in size. Jerusalem has always had to depend for the most part on water stored in this way, and carried to the city in aqueducts. A large number of cisterns have been found and partially explored under the temple-area itself. The water stored in the cisterns is surface water, and is a great menace to the health of the people. During the long, dry summer the water gets less and less, and becomes so stagnant and filthy that it is not fit to drink. In a few instances the cisterns or pools are sufficiently large to supply water for limited irrigation.


(5) During the summer when there is no rain, vegetation is greatly helped by the heavy dews. A considerable amount of irrigation is carried on in the country where there is sufficient water in the fountains and springs for the purpose. There was doubtless much more of it in the Roman period. Most of the fruit trees require water during the summer.

(6) Many particular wells or pools are mentioned in the Bible, as: Beersheba (Ge 21:19), Isaac's well (Ge 24:11), Jacob's well (Joh 4:6), Pool of Siloam (Joh 9:7), "waters of Nephtoah" (Jos 15:9).

(7) Washing with water held a considerable place in the Jewish temple-ceremony (Le 11:32; 16:4; 17:15; 22:6; Nu 19:7; Ex 30:18; 40:7). Sacrifices were washed (Ex 29:4; Le 1:9; 6:28; 14:5).

(8) The lack of water caused great suffering (Ex 15:22; De 8:15; 2Ki 3:9; Ps 63:1; Pr 9:17; Eze 4:11; La 5:4).

Written by Alfred H. Joy






Torrey's New Topical Textbook

Water: One of the Elements of the World

Gen 1:2

Water: God Originally

Created the firmament to divide

Gen 1:6,7

Collected into one place

Gen 1:9

Created fowls and fishes, &c from

Gen 1:20,21

Water: Necessary to Vegetation

Gen 2:5,6; Job 14:9; Isa 1:30

Water: Some Plants Particularly Require

Job 8:11

Water: Necessary to the Comfort and Happiness of Man

Isa 41:17; Zec 9:11

Water: Collected In


Jos 15:19


1Ki 22:38; Neh 2:14


Exd 7:19; Isa 19:10


1Ki 18:5; 2Ch 32:3


Gen 21:19


2Sa 17:20; 1Ki 18:5


Psa 78:16; Isa 35:6


Isa 8:7; Jer 2:18

The sea

Gen 1:9,10; Isa 11:9

The clouds

Gen 1:7; Job 26:8,9

Water: Rises in Vapour to the Clouds

Ecc 1:7; Psa 104:8

Water: Drops from the Clouds in Rain

Deu 11:11; 2Sa 21:10

Water: Described As


Psa 78:16; Pro 30:4


Gen 49:4


Psa 109:18

Reflecting images

Pro 27:9

Wearing the hardest substances

Job 14:19


Eze 36:25; Eph 5:26


Job 22:7; Pro 25:25

Water: Congealed by Cold

Job 38:29; Psa 147:16,17

Water: Was Used by Jews

As their principal beverage

Gen 24:43; 1Ki 13:19,22; 18:4; Hsa 2:5

For culinary purposes

Exd 12:9

For washing the person

Gen 18:4; 24:32

For legal purification

Exd 29:4; Hbr 9:10,19

Water: Kept for Purification in Large Waterpots

Jhn 2:6

Water: Carried in Vessels

Gen 21:14; 1Sa 26:11; Mar 14:13

Water: Artificial Mode of Conveying, into Large Cities

2Ki 20:20

Water: Frequently Brackish and Unfit for Use

Exd 15:23; 2Ki 2:19

Water: The Want Of, Considered a Great Calamity

Exd 17:1-3; Num 20:2; 2Ki 3:9,10; Isa 3:1

Water: In Times of Scarcity, Sold at an Enormous Price

Lam 5:4

Water: Miracles Connected With

Turned into blood

Exd 7:17,20

Turned into wine

Jhn 2:7-9

Brought from the rock

Exd 17:6; Num 20:11

Brought from the jaw-bone of an ass

Jdg 15:19

Consumed by fire from heaven

1Ki 18:38

Divided and made to stand on heap

Exd 14:21,22; Jos 3:16

Trenches filled with

2Ki 3:17-22

Iron made to swim in

2Ki 6:5,6

Our Lord, &c walking on

Mat 14:26-29

Healing powers communicated to

2Ki 5:14; Jhn 5:4; 9:7

Water: The World and Its Inhabitants Once Destroyed By

Gen 7:20-23; 2Pe 3:6

Water: The World Not to Be Again Destroyed By

Gen 9:8-15; 2Pe 3:7

Water: Illustrative

Of the support of God

Isa 8:6

Of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit

Isa 41:17,18; 44:3; Eze 36:25; Jhn 7:38,39

Of persecutors

Psa 124:4,5

Of persecutions

Psa 88:17

Of hostile armies

Isa 8:7; 17:13

(Still,) of the ordinances of the gospel

Psa 23:2

(Deep,) of severe affliction

Psa 66:12; 69:1; Isa 30:20; 43:2

(Deep,) of counsel in the heart

Pro 20:5

(Deep,) of the words of the wise

Pro 18:4

(Poured out,) of the wrath of God

Hsa 5:10

(Poured out,) of faintness by terror

Psa 22:14

(Pouring, out of buckets,) of a numerous progeny

Num 24:7

(Spilled on the ground,) of death

2Sa 14:14

(Its instability,) of a wavering disposition

Gen 49:4

(Its weakness,) of faintness and cowardice

Jos 7:5; Eze 7:17

(Difficulty of stopping,) of strife and contention

Pro 17:14

(Rapidly flowing away,) of the career of the wicked

Job 24:18; Psa 58:7

(Many,) of different nations and people

Rev 17:1,15; Jer 51:13

(Many,) of a variety of afflictions

2Sa 22:17

(Noise of many,) of the word of Christ

Rev 1:15

(Covering the sea,) of the general diffusion of the knowledge of God

Isa 11:9; Hab 2:14


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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