NASA briefly explains the water cycle:
Water regulates climate, predominately storing heat during the day and releasing it at night. Water in the ocean and atmosphere carry heat from the tropics to the poles. The process by which water moves around the earth, from the ocean, to the atmosphere, to the land and back to the ocean is called the water cycle.
The three animations above show hourly evaporation, water vapor, and precipitation, based on "data from the GEOS-5 atmospheric model on the cubed-sphere, run at 14-km global resolution for 25-days." I'm not even going to pretend like I know what I'm talking about, but it is fun to watch the simulated global water movements. Remember, these are based on actual data. They are not closeups of lava lamps.