1. AIR AND THE BREATH OF LIFE
a. When did the first human being become a living soul, and upon what does human life essentially depend? Genesis 2:7; Job 34:14.
“In God we live and move and have our being. Each heartbeat, each breath, is the inspiration of Him who breathed into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life—the inspiration of the ever-present God, the great I AM.”—The Review and Herald, November 8, 1898.
b. Why is it so important to have fresh air, and how can we breathe in a healthful manner?
“Teach [patients] to breathe deeply, and in breathing and speaking to exercise the abdominal muscles.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 264, 265.
“Many are suffering from disease because they refuse to receive into their rooms at night the pure night air. The free, pure air of heaven is one of the richest blessings we can enjoy.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 528.
“Neglect of proper ventilation is responsible for much of the drowsiness and dullness that destroy the effect of many a sermon and make the teacher’s work toilsome and ineffective.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 274.
2. WATER – AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT FOR LIFE
a. Why is water essential to life on earth? Judges 15:18, 19.
“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 Ministry of Healing, p. 237.
b. What qualities must water have in order to be potable and beneficial to health? Exodus 15:23, 25. What are some other uses of water in the treatment of disease? Hebrews 10:22.
“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. . . .
“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.”—Ibid.
c. What water substitutes has Satan introduced in order to weaken humanity, physically and spiritually—and what is wrong with them? Isaiah 55:2; Proverbs 23:31.
“The health is in no way improved by the use of those things which stimulate for a time, but afterward cause a reaction which leaves the system lower than before. Tea and coffee whip up the flagging energies for the time being, but when their immediate influence has gone, a feeling of depression is the result. . . .
“Tea and coffee drinking is a sin, an injurious indulgence, which, like other evils, injures the soul.”—Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 425.
“Never take tea, coffee, beer, wine, or any spirituous liquors. Water is the best liquid possible to cleanse the tissues.”—Ibid., p.421.
3. MORE ON THE WATER OF LIFE
a. What should we remember when drinking pure water? Ecclesiastes 3:1.
“Many make a mistake in drinking cold water with their meals. 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 ice 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. . . . Food should not be washed down; no drink is needed with meals. . . . 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 first be absorbed. 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 the meal, is all that nature requires.”—Ibid., p.420.
b. What benefits do we receive from water, “the gift of God”? Psalm 104:10–14. What can we learn from other living things which God has created?
“The material world is under God’s control. The laws of nature are obeyed by nature. Everything speaks and acts the will of the Creator. Cloud and sunshine, dew and rain, wind and storm, all are under the supervision of God, and yield implicit obedience to His command. It is in obedience to the law of God that the spire of grain bursts through the ground, ‘first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear’ (Mark 4:28). These the Lord develops in their proper season because they do not resist His working. And can it be that man, made in the image of God, endowed with reason and speech, shall alone be unappreciative of His gifts and disobedient to His will? Shall rational beings alone cause confusion in our world?”—Christ’s Object Lesson, pp. 81, 82.
c. What references are made to water in the heavenly kingdom? Revelation 22:1; 21:6.
4. THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF WATER
a. Which two religious ordinances utilize water as a main agent? Matthew 3:5, 6; John 13:3–5.
b. What is the significance of each of these ordinances, and what does the water symbolize in each? 1 Peter 3:21; John 13:8.
“Baptism is a most solemn renunciation of the world. Those who are baptized in the threefold name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, at the very entrance of their Christian life declare publicly that they have forsaken the service of Satan and have become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 91.
“The example of washing the feet of His disciples was given for the benefit of all who should believe in Him. He required them to follow His example. This humble ordinance was not only designed to test their humility and faithfulness, but to keep fresh in their remembrance that the redemption of His people was purchased upon conditions of humility and continual obedience upon their part.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 202.
c. Does the water in the foot washing ceremony cleanse us from sin? Why or why not? Luke 22:3–6; John 13:10, 11.
“Christ gave His disciples to understand that the washing of their feet did not cleanse away their sin, but that the cleansing of their heart was tested in this humble service. If the heart was cleansed, this act was all that was essential to reveal the fact. He had washed the feet of Judas; but He said, ‘Ye are not all clean.’ Judas brought a traitor’s heart to this scene, and Christ revealed to all that He knew him to be the betrayer of his Lord, and that the washing of his feet was not an ordinance to cleanse the soul from its moral defilement. . . .
“And we have, in His example, the lesson that the ordinance of feet washing is not to be deferred because there are some professed believers who are not cleansed from their sins.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 5. p. 1138.
5. THE BENEFITS OF SUNLIGHT
a. What blessings has God given us through the sun? Ecclesiastes 11:7; Deuteronomy 33:14 (first part). What analogy suggests that the sun provides healing, physically and spiritually? Malachi 4:2.
“The sun is a God-given physician.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 20. p. 25.
“Let your judgment be convinced that exercise, sunlight, and air are the blessings which Heaven has provided to make the sick well and to keep in health those who are not sick. God does not deprive you of these free, Heaven-bestowed blessings, but you have punished yourselves by closing your doors against them. Properly used, these simple yet powerful agents will assist nature to overcome real difficulties, if such exist, and will give healthy tone to the mind and vigor to the body.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 535.
b. What are some of the risks involved in overexposure to the sun? Jonah 4:8; Matthew 13:6 (even though this is a reference to plants, it can literally apply to us as well). What protection did God provide for the Israelites in the wilderness? Psalm 105:39.
c. How does Scripture depict the perfect balance of nature in the new earth—and the actual source of light there? Isaiah 49:10; Revelation 21:23.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. In which ways can we benefit from fresh air?
2. What part does water play in the preservation of health, both internally and externally?
3. Why shouldn’t we drink with our meals?
4. Although the ceremonies of baptism and the communion service do not in and of themselves cleanse us from sin, why are they still necessary?
5. How can we benefit from sunlight, both physically and spiritually?