|Photo by D. Illiff
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Flowing Triplets: Living Water Sustains Life!
Jesus Christ is the full expression of the Triune Godhead (Colossians 2:9), with love, light, and living water flowing freely from His radiant Presence. The essence of water itself reflects His Triune signature, beginning with its molecular structure composed of three atoms: two hydrogen and one oxygen. In its pure form, this vital substance is tasteless, odorless, and colorless.
At temperatures found on the planet Earth, water exists abundantly in all three states of physical matter: water (liquid), ice (solid; Job 6:16; 38:29; Psalm 147:17), and water vapor (gas), and it is the only common substance found on earth in all three states. Earth’s treasure of water is contained above the earth in clouds (Proverbs 8:28), on the earth’s surface, and within the earth as groundwater, including soil moisture, water in underground caves, and aquifers (Genesis 7:11; 2 Samuel 22:16).
Sources of water on the earth’s surface include bodies of water, which cover about 71% of the earth’s surface, as well as water contained in plants and in animals. Much of the water humans consume comes from fruits and vegetables such as melon or cucumbers (Numbers 11:5), and even water stored in cacti or other succulents can save the life of someone in the desert far from any other water source.
God created bodies of water (Genesis 1:10; Proverbs 8:28) including oceans, lakes and rivers, containing salt water, fresh water, or brackish (a mixture of salt and fresh). Ocean waves, which consist of several crests (peaks) separated by troughs (valleys), can be described using three characteristics. The height of the waves is the amplitude, the distance between neighboring wave crests is the wavelength, and the time between neighboring wave crests is the period.
God designed an amazing system to circulate water through its various storehouses, thereby cleansing it and providing us with drinkable water. Although discovery of this water cycle was credited to the imperial Romans, the Bible described it more than one thousand years earlier (Job 26:8; Ecclesiastes 11:3; Amos 9:6).
There are three ways that water leaves the surface of the earth and returns to the atmosphere: evaporation, in which liquid water heated by the sun turns to water vapor; sublimation, in which ice gives off water vapor without melting first, and transpiration, in which water molecules move through a plant, entering from soil through the roots and evaporating from leaves, flowers, and stems.
Atmospheric water returns to earth in three distinct forms of precipitation: rain (liquid droplets), snow (ice crystals), and hail (frozen balls of rain). Sleet is actually a mixture of rain and snow. We think of snowflakes as being six-sided, but the hexagonal shape actually arises from a triangle. On rare occasions and at temperatures of around −2 °C (28 °F), snowflakes form as triangular crystals with three equal sides.
This three-sided snowflake can give rise to the characteristic hexagonal snowflake, known as a Koch snowflake, by dividing each side of the triangle into three segments of equal length, forming an equilateral triangle that has the middle segment from each side of the original triangle as its base and that points outward, and continuing the process to develop intricate crystalline shapes that have six-sided symmetry.
Water is required for life on earth for three reasons. It is a necessary ingredient in biochemical reactions that sustain life; it dissolves so many substances that it is called the universal solvent; and it has unique physical properties offering lubrication, cushioning, and thermal protection. Photosynthesis is the biochemical reaction occurring in all green plants, in which water plus carbon dioxide (containing three atoms, namely one carbon and two oxygen) are transformed into glucose (simple sugar) and oxygen.
This reaction serves three essential functions. Firstly, it converts light energy from the sun into chemical energy stored in sugar where it can be used by plants and animals. Without photosynthesis, we would all starve. Secondly, it uses up carbon dioxide, which animals and humans exhale, and which, in excess, would suffocate us. And thirdly, it generates oxygen, which animals and humans need to fuel their muscles, their heart, and chemical reactions releasing energy needed for other cells to function.
Water is the universal solvent, meaning that it can dissolve most substances. (Thankfully, it doesn’t dissolve everything, or we couldn’t find a container to store it in, and we would melt like the Wicked Witch of the West when it rains!).
Because of its solvent qualities, water dissolves minerals found in the sea and within plant and animal cells where they sustain life. Water transports other vital chemicals dissolved in our blood plasma to where they are needed in the body. Finally, the solvent properties of water allow us to use it for cleansing, keeping our bodies, food, and environment relatively free of disease-causing and otherwise unpleasant contaminants (Leviticus 15).
Minerals dissolved in the sea are consumed by God’s abundant creation of fish, shellfish, and marine manmals (Genesis 1:20-21), as well as of algae, seaweed, and other water plants that animals and humans eat to avail themselves of these nutrients. The oceans are still a largely untapped source of undiscovered organisms that may provide as yet unknown health benefits.
Chemicals dissolved in our intestinal juices, blood plasma, and urine are transported to where they are needed as our amazingly designed body (Psalm 139:14) digests food, provide organs with raw materials for specialized growth and function, and eliminates waste. Without water, which makes up 55% to 78% of the body, all these essential processes literally dry up and shut down the body.
God even utilized the mechanical properties of water in His design of our bodies. For example, water lubricates our joints. The two bone surfaces, which are relatively hard (22% water) do not contact one another directly, which would soon cause considerable grinding, wear and tear. Rather, the contacting surfaces are covered with cartilage, a firm gel-like substance containing 65%-85% water, and lined with a membrane secreting synovial fluid (90% water) to reduce friction.
The low compressibility of water makes it an excellent cushion, shock absorber, and protection not only for the joint surfaces, but also for the brain and spinal cord, which are bathed and suspended in cerebrospinal fluid, and for the unborn baby, who floats in amniotic fluid within his mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).
Water has a very high specific heat capacity. This helps the body to maintain a normal temperature by conserving heat when needed and by releasing heat when blood flow is directed to the skin surface. Heat stored in the water content of blood can dissipate from dilated blood vessels through heat transfer processes of radiation (directly emitted from the skin), convection (carried away from the skin by a breeze), and conduction (transferred from the skin to a cooler substance, like a babbling brook). Sweat glands also secrete sweat, which is 98% water, to cool the body by evaporation.
Throughout the Bible, we see God providing His children with lifesaving water (Isaiah 41:17). In the Garden of Eden, God made a mist from the earth to water the whole surface of the ground (Genesis 2:6), and a river flowing out of Eden to water the garden (Genesis 2:10). When Hagar and Ishmael were about to die of thirst in the desert, God provided a well (Genesis 21:14-19)
As the Hebrews wandered through the desert, God brought forth water from a rock (Isaiah 48:2). The Promised Land where He led them was a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills (Deuteronomy 8:7). In the Millennial Kingdom, living waters will go forth from Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:8), the rivers of Judah will flow with waters, the mountains with new wine, and the hills with milk (Joel 3: 18).
Thank God for His precious gift of water, without which we cannot live! But even more essential is that Christ is the Living Water giving us abundant and eternal spiritual life, for all who trust in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), as we shall see next week!
© 2014 Laurie Collett