Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Miracle of Water

Photo by Sergiu Baciolu; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic


Five Amazing Facts about Water
1.           It expands as it freezes as opposed to most substances that become denser as the temperature falls. This allows it to float rather than sink in liquid water. This quality is critical for liquid water to exist on our planet.
2.           It can store energy because of its high heat capacity, thus regulating our body temperature.
3.           It has a very high heat of evaporation (540 C/gram). This means that as water evaporates, it removes a large amount of heat, which helps keep our bodies cool as we sweat.
4.           It remains in liquid form, when other substances become gaseous.
5.           It is the only substance on earth that exists naturally in all three forms ((ice, liquid and vapor).

70% of our planet is covered with water and 90% of our bodies are composed of it.  Water has one of the simplest possible chemical formulas: two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom (H-O-H). Yet it is one of the most anomalous substances known to us. On a practical level, we know water as an ordinary and abundant substance, essential for life, but scientifically it is complex and exhibits unusual behavior. In fact, it has over 40 unique properties that combined, make life possible on earth.  No wonder NASA is searching for water on other planets as a condition for speculating whether life can exist.

The components of water are two gases, hydrogen and oxygen, arranged in the manner of a triangle, with oxygen at the apex and the hydrogen bonds as its two legs, with 104.45 degree separation. This structure, with the additional property of oxygen being slightly positive and the hydrogen atoms being slightly negative, creates what scientist call hydrogen bonding. This very structure is responsible for water’s unusual properties. In fact, minute changes in this 104.45 degree angle, or changes in the charges, would make it impossible for liquid water to exist!  Water has been extensively studied by scientists, but still holds many puzzles.

It is no accident then that Christ used the metaphor of liquid water to explain a spiritual principle to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well (John 4:14). Jesus said the water he gives us “…will become in [us] a spring of water welling up to eternal life”.  Just as physical water is essential for life, so spiritual ‘water’ gives life to our soul, as God’s Spirit quenches our thirst for something beyond ourselves, something eternal. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me…streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:38).

for more information on water’s amazing qualities visit: US Geological Survey's - Water Education for Schools

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