In Hebrew, a mikvah is a pool of water that is flowing.  Some flavors of Judaism call this “living water”, which resonates with the woman at the well.

At our house, we collect rain water and use it for washing (including brushing our teeth) but not drinking.  We don’t have our reverse osmosis unit hooked up yet.  Here’s why.

Once the rain water comes off the roof, it passes through some filters that keep out the big stuff – leaves, bugs, etc.  Stuff you can see.  The water goes into two cisterns where more stuff can fall out to the bottom.  Inside the house, we have a centrifuge (not a spinning thing that looks like something from a fairground, but a non-moving device smaller than a 20-ounce pop bottle) that traps solids 100 microns and up (if memory serves), then a rope filter that catches solids 5 microns and up, and finally a UV light to kill bacteria that get through.  The reverse osmosis unit will be placed after this, with its own filters and UV light (belt and suspenders, don’t you see).

The UV light has a sensor to indicate how well it’s doing.  The number (returned as a percentage of light getting through the water to the sensor) has been going down over the year-plus we’ve been in the house.  The bulb has to be changed yearly, and we decided to clean the sleeve the bulb fits in at the same time.  I’m glad we did.

Here I am unscrewing the sensor.

and with the sleeve

The nice, not-so-clean sleeve

Remember that we have filtered out things down below pollen size. This stuff is big. We cleaned it in our wash tub

and had grit left over.

After cleaning the sleeve and installing the new bulb, we bled the system to remove air and this sediment. This is the water bucket afterwards:

Yeah, that stuff’s bigger than 20 microns:

Here’s a shot of the inside of the UV unit:

and some of the pilings we kept as a sample:

We’re probably going to have to get some sort of chemical system to pull these dissolved solids out before they hit our house’s systems. The deposits are showing up in our toilets and sinks, in the shower, everywhere the water touches. That’s why we haven’t hooked up the RO unit yet.

And why we don’t drink this rocky water, but do partake joyfully of the pure living water.