Water content has a pronounced influence on the properties of rock materials, which is responsible for many rock engineering hazards, such as landslides and karst collapse. Meanwhile, water injection is also used for the prevention of some engineering disasters like rock-bursts. To comprehensively investigate the effect of water content on mechanical properties of rocks, laboratory tests were carried out on sandstone specimens with different water contents in both saturation and drying processes. The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance technique was applied to study the water distribution in specimens with variation of water contents. The servo-controlled rock mechanics testing machine and Split Hopkinson Pressure Bar technique were used to conduct both compressive and tensile tests on sandstone specimens with different water contents. From the laboratory tests, reductions of the compressive and tensile strength of sandstone under static and dynamic states in different saturation processes were observed. In the drying process, all of the saturated specimens could basically regain their mechanical properties and recover its strength as in the dry state. However, for partially saturated specimens in the saturation and drying processes, the tensile strength of specimens with the same water content was different, which could be related to different water distributions in specimens.