I could see the water, and a bright glow surrounded it and the burbling of the water had a musical sound to it, this stream of water fairly sang! The water was so sparkling clear! I remember wanting to bend over and take a drink from the stream that was running through this garden we were walking thru. When I tried to scoop up water with my hands the water ran through my hands, literally, and it wasn’t wet!—“Derry”
Derry’s account is one of the more descriptive NDEs and is worth a read.
I may be approaching this issue from the wrong perspective by expecting the afterlife environment to be like the terrestrial one, and trying to figure out why it isn’t. (Obviously, if I were on the other end, I’d be trying to figure out why terrestrial water gets things wet and doesn’t play music.) But I keep returning to this because it is one of the few common specific descriptions by experiencers that surprises them. (Among other common experiences are being able to travel to destinations instantly merely by thinking of them, 360-degree vision, ability to communicate without words, etc..) I can somewhat explain these commonalities, and the experiencers don’t seemed surprised by them. But I can’t explain the “water.” Why not just have “real” water in the afterlife? Why this substance that obviously isn’t water, despite outward appearance? The most obvious answer: “water” doesn’t, or can’t, exist on this particular afterlife plane. Other terrestrial artifacts—dirt, sky, light, buildings—are represented in forms that are somewhat analogous to earth. But not water.
This may, or may not, be related to the water anomaly: An NDE account by Jaime wherein he is presented with a cup of coffee by his deceased grandmother. When he tries to drink it he discovers that “it was not hot and had no taste. It was lukewarm; but yet there was steam coming from it like it was hot, but it was not. It's like when you are sick and there's no taste.”
Water as we know it does not, and cannot, exist on this plane—what could this mean?
As we are all taught in biology class, life as we know it can’t exist on the physical plane without water. If there is no water in the afterlife (or on that specific afterlife plane), we aren’t in bodies that function like terrestrial ones... perhaps we are in forms that mimic the physical, and appear physical, but we are governed by different laws (or “root assumptions”) that would appear alien to us. This opens up a whole world of speculation for the physics-inclined explorer, and eliminates the need to send Mars-type landers into the afterworld to scrape for subterranean ice.