An Egyptian method for surviving the plague
By: William J Jackson – https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies
The Egyptians were 3,000 years ahead of themselves in dealing with the crises of contaminated water. We are talking about the first plague which turned the Nile waters to blood (Exodus 7:20). Remember seven days passed with all waters being contaminated (Exodus 7:25). As we know many people in a desert environment cannot last 3 days without water never mind a week. Interestingly the Egyptians created a method of water purification that is captured in Torah.
Exodus 7:24 states “the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink because they could not drink from the water of the Nile”. Remember not only was the Nile contaminated but all waters in Egypt were contaminated (Exodus 7:19). So how do you get potable water from a contaminated water sources? Simple, you filter it. Digging a hole near a water source allows the earth between the water source and hole to act as a filter. This technique would be re-invented by Germany in the 1870s at the Rhine River. It would be called “River Bank Filtration”(1).
It is also a good technique if you ever find yourself in a survival situation with only contaminated water. Here is how you do it.
Use the Earth to filter water (2):
This is basically the “well” method of obtaining water. Dig a hole near water source; 2-4 from moving water (river), about 50 feet from standing water or 50 yards from sea water. Allow the hole to fill with water. The water in the hole will likely be reasonably pure. You can make a field expedient filter to ensure your water is potable (FM 21-76, Chapter 6, figure 6-9).