IcebergIce and snow at the poles store a large amount of water (Credit: Pixabay)

Water is essential for life and recycles itself so we won’t run out of it

By Geoff Chapman

1. Earth is the only planet we know of that has a plentiful supply of liquid water

About 70% of earth’s surface is covered in water, which is why it’s sometimes called the “blue planet.” The Pacific Ocean alone contains one third of earth’s water. There is also a lot of frozen water in the polar icecaps and mountain glaciers.

2. We can’t survive without it

About 60% of our body weight is water, and our blood is mostly water, too.

Rain falling on the sea
Rain falls on the sea, but the sea is never full because water evaporates (Credit: Pixabay)

Water is made from two gases — hydrogen and oxygen. A water molecule consists of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. That’s why we call it H2O.

Water actually exists in three forms — solid, liquid and gas — and we find all three on the earth. Water molecules are held together by hydrogen bonds, but when water is heated to boiling point (100oC), the molecules separate and become a gas. When water is cooled, the molecules join tightly together, and at freezing point become ice — the solid form of water.

3. Water behaves differently to any other liquid

Most liquids contract when they cool. Water does too — until it gets near freezing-point (0oC) — then it starts to expand. That’s why water pipes sometimes burst in cold weather.

Ice is less dense than liquid water, which means that ice floats on the surface. If water behaved like other liquids then, when it froze, ice would sink to the bottom, while lakes and ponds would turn to solid ice when the temperature drops.

However, ice forms a blanket, keeping the water below much warmer than the air above. Without this insulating layer, many fish and other aquatic creatures would die.

4. Liquid water in the oceans helps moderate the climate

How water recycles itself
How water recycles itself (Credit:: Vatyka, Wikipedia)

As the seasons change, the sea temperature changes only gradually. Water vapour in the atmosphere provides a “greenhouse effect”, keeping our planet warm enough for life to exist. Ice and snow at the poles reflect solar radiation and store a large amount of water.

The total quantity of water remains roughly the same, but is constantly recycled. It falls as rain, hail and snow, and returns to the upper atmosphere by evaporation.

5. The Bible described the water cycle in around 1520 BC!

“He draws up the drops of water, which distil as rain to the streams. The clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind” (Job 36: 27-28).

“All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again” (Ecclesiastes 1: 7).

Surely it’s no coincidence we are so well supplied with this unique and vital liquid?

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There is a thirst — unique to humans — that water cannot quench. It is spiritual thirst, and only Jesus Christ, God’s Son, can satisfy that.

Jesus promised “living water” to those who turn to him: “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4: 13).

When we accept God’s forgiveness through faith in him, he will satisfy the thirst that water can never quench!

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