When we watch a river, it appears to flow ceaselessly. But when we consider it further, we realize that the flowing of water takes on many forms, each depending upon the perspective from which we observe it. Water, as Zen Master Dogen poetically described it, "flows over the earth and out of the sky, now surging upwards, now pouring downwards, streaming along in the bends of a river and coursing through deep chasms. It rises up to make clouds and comes down to form pools."
The Chinese scholar Wen-tsu once remarked, “It is the way of water to rise up to the heavens and become rain and dew, and to fall to earth and become rivers and streams.” What he meant was that although water is not aware of its potential, it is still fully capable of realizing its potential. When human beings drink water, its potential is to become part of our bodies and minds, and water can become aware of its potential yet still be fully capable of functioning as rain and dew and as rivers and streams.