Copyright Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. 1992



The question to be answered is this, "Is water witching part of the Occult?"


1. There does not seem to be any explanation for the phenomena, either logically, nor scientifically. Some suggest that it has to do with the magnetic fields, yet if this is true, why are water witchers incorrect at times. (They do not always find water.) If a law of nature is in effect when it works, then the phenomena should work at all times.

2. The Encyclopedia Americana, nor The Illustrated World Encyclopedia, nor the New Universal Standard Encyclopedia contain an entry under the heading water witching and the Encyclopedia Americana has none under the term Dowsing. If there were solid evidence to the truth of the practice it would seem that they would discuss it.

3. The book of Job tells us in the first two chapters that the Devil can control nature within the limits that God places upon him. He is able to control specifically in the book of Job: People, 1:16,17; fire, 1:16; Wind, 1:19; man's physical diseases, 2:7.

4. Webster's Ninth Collegiate Dictionary under water witch states, "One that dowses for water". (By permission. From Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary copyright 1991 by Merriam-Webster Inc., publisher of the Merriam-Webster (registered) Dictionaries.) Another term used is dousing for water. It comes from douse which means to place into water. A water witcher is one that claims to be able to find water below the surface of the earth by using special powers.

The use of terms like "power", "witch", and "divining" would indicate that someone in the past - the one that first used these terms thought that there was more to the effect than natural activities.

The usage of the term "supposed" would indicate that Webster had a question in his mind as to the validity of the practice.

6. Dowsing is not only used for finding water, but minerals as well. (One author mentions that the practice started with the location of minerals in England many years ago.)

7. "It works." is usually the comment to those questioning the practice. "It works." does not make it right, proper, scientific, nor from God.

Job tells us that Satan controlled nature to the extent that God allowed. "It worked!" but it wasn't right, proper, scientific, nor from God, it was from the Devil. "It works." is no proof at all.


1. There seems to be little, if any, scientific evidence to support the phenomena.

2. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I have heard the figure of it's working 50% of the time, more than once. If it were scientific and related to the laws of nature, 100% of the time would be more appropriate.

3. If it works there is no natural explanation for it from science. (At least to this point, I have seen none offered.)

4. Most dowsers claim power to find water. Where does the power come from? If God sent it, why didn't He tell us about it. Others call it a special gift. Again, if it is from God why did He not mention it in the Word? Indeed, why didn't he give it for the use of the Israelites in the wilderness? (Don't tell me that was what Moses was doing with his rod, either.)

5. The terms used in relation to the practice seem to be terms that normally relate to Satan rather than God. "a power", "witch", "witching", and "Divining".

6. If it works for metal ore and water, then why haven't scientists been able to:

a. Verify the process.

b. Develop the process.

c. Explain the process.

And finally if you can dowse for metals and water, then why not oil and other valuables. If all of this is possible, then why do so many scientific companies spend billions of dollars on exploration for these substances.

7. To prove with Scripture that water witching is part of the Demonic tool chest, there is no verse to quote, yet the principles of finding things that are unknowable by common channels is soundly rejected within the scriptures.

At best water witching would be classed in the area of wives tales, and at worst it could be attributed to Satan.

If there is no proof that it works, then it would seem to fit in the first category. If there is no rational explanation for it, and it works, then the later seems to be the more appropriate.


It has been reported that the armed forces tried to witch for land mines in Viet-Nam. The validity of this is questionable since there is no documentation that I know of, but if it were true, then why did they take mine detectors and detonators to the Middle East as they did in 1991?

There is an entry in a book that attributes the process of water witching to the category of fakery. (Danny Korem & Paul Meier, M.D., "THE FAKERS", Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980.) Pages 52 through 59 give logical explanation to the phenomena.

I personally reject the fakery aspect and feel that from what I have read and heard that it probably is a process by which you can find water at times. I further would hold that this is accomplished by a power, not of God, but of the Devil.

Some references that relate to the topic indirectly:

The finding of water through water witching is basically finding out information that cannot be known by natural senses and means, or from God.

The Scripture seems to deal with this at times under the topic of divination. The following references speak to that subject. Nu. 22:7; Nu. 23:23; De. 18:10; II Ki. 17:17; Jer. 14:14; Eze. 12:24; Eze. 13:6,7,23; Eze. 21:21,22,23; Acts 16:16.

You might desire to look up the term diviners also. Ge. 44:15; I Sa. 28:8; Pr. 16:10; Mic. 3:6,11; Zech. 10:2.


If at any time scientific evidence is given to prove contrary to the above information I will be pleased to give it consideration.

If at any time Biblical evidence is given to prove contrary to the above information I will be pleased to give it consideration.

By the same token before you, the reader, set the thoughts set forth aside, it is your responsibility to prove with some evidence that the thoughts are incorrect. A phrase like "It works!" is not valid evidence that the process of water witching is not of the occult.

You must also deal with the thought that all information comes from the Word, the things that we can sense through the senses, those things that we can learn from scientific observation/experimentation, and those things which we can logically deduce. Water witching is not related to any of these sources other than the sense of sight in what might be observed, which is suspect to fakery, and taste, if water is found.

I would enjoy seeing rebuttals, responses and rotten tomatoes raised by these thoughts. (REMEMBER, I WANT TO SEE THE TOMATOES, NOT WEAR THEM.)