Wonderful World of Water

But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.  Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky.  The water receded steadily from the earth.  At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.  The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible.

  • Genesis 8:1-5

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”  (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman.  How can you ask me for a drink?”  (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep.  Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but 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.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

  • John 4:7-15

Before I start into what I wrote about a week ago, I would like to mention the destructive side of water. In the countless times we have driven I-40 from Nashville, TN to Jackson, TN, and many times beyond, we have stopped at the Waverly exit for gasoline and often for barbeque. The recent flash floods in Waverly, north of the exit, and another nearby town to the east of there caused tremendous damage to property and many lives were lost. Then, the storm that I wrote about yesterday went into the Atlantic and mixed with tropical elements to become Henri, and that tropical storm is still doing damage with intense rains in New England. Our prayers go out to the those folks who have suffered great loss.

Yesterday, I wrote about getting hot due to a loss of electricity, and there was no fan to circulate the air.  There was no air conditioning.  I turned to water to try to cool down, but then the air was humid, and the water did not evaporate.  That’s a bad combination, but it got me thinking about water.

When I was a freshman in engineering class, I took my first version of Thermodynamics.  For quite some time, we studied a couple of charts that I have used often in my engineering work, the humidity chart and the enthalpy chart, most of what an engineer needs to know about water (how much moisture can a quantity of air hold at a particular temperature and how much heat (enthalpy) can a quantity of water hold).  I used those pages in my freshman book until the back cover of the book was getting loose.  The enthalpy chart was conveniently the first page inside the back cover.

Water can store an amazing amount of heat.  It takes a lot of heat to raise the temperature of water from 60 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit.  It takes one British Thermal Unit (BTU).  If you use the metric system, a gram of water, raised one degree Celsius, requires a calorie of heat.  One calorie of heat is equal to 4.184 joules (the unit most often used these days).

When water is used to cool our bodies, any water temperature less than our body surface temperature will do for some minimal cooling, but for a lot of cooling, the key is evaporation.  The latent heat of evaporation must be provided to turn the liquid water into vapor.  This is the major source of cooling the skin, but it only works when the air can accept that amount of water.  When the air is humid and muggy, the water just sits there, making you feel even hotter, and sticky, and smelly.

Regardless of whether the last three paragraphs sounded interesting or boring, did you notice that heat is defined in terms of heating water?  Water, in many ways, defines the world around us.  Why not?  Seventy-one percent of the earth is covered in water.  If you go with the climate change alarmists, that number is increasing with sea level rise.

Water defines us.  Up to 60 percent of the human body is water, much more in the lungs (83%), brain and heart (73%).  Even bones have about 30% water in their make-up.

The channel, dedicated to weather, that I watch a lot, did something that I admire this month, August 2021.  They had a challenge among their meteorologists to waste as little water as possible, and they set the challenge up as a tournament with one meteorologist winning the prize.  In other words, they did something rather than telling us to do it.  The “contestants” went on camera to explain various ways that they were saving water, which became, for the most part, good instruction for all of us.  Some of it was cringe worthy though.  Some of it showed that they have a lot more money to work with than I do.

I found some of their accounting of water a bit suspect.  I applaud the fact that they even considered the water required to process the food that they eat, but water is not always “water.”  The city of Kennewick, Washington had two water mains when I lived next door in West Richland, Washington (about 25 years ago).  One was potable water for drinking, washing clothing, bathing, etc.  The other was water pumped directly from the Columbia River near where the Yakima River combines with it.  No treating is provided for the second water main.  It is just for watering the lawns.  Lawn sprinkler systems are required to cut down on the spread of brush fires, since green grass is harder to burn.

When they speak of beef being the huge carbon footprint of food and super huge user of water, much of that “water” is to grow corn to feed the cows, but if the weather cooperates, that comes from rain, no water treatment at all, not even any pumping.  So, much of their water “consumption” is angel feathers, but the concepts were good.

And I used “consumption” in quotes.  For the most part, water remains water.  We consume it and it may turn into a blood cell, or we may expel it from the body in one form or another.  If water evaporates, it returns as rain.  It is still two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom in chemical bonded bliss.  Even if it forms rust on that old cast iron pot, it is still water attached to ferrous oxide compounds.  The point that they were making is that once it changes its form and we collect it to reuse it, there is the cost of cleaning up that water before you would want to drink it.

So, when God destroys His Creation by sending a flood, the water became a dominant factor.  While many think that there is not enough water to cover the earth, they do not take into account two factors, at least two.  1) To prevent future floods, God did a lot of seismic work while the earth was flooded.  He did a lot of seismic work just to create the flood.  The Scripture above talks of waters receding after the water that sprung from the earth had stopped flowing.  That water went back into underwater aquifers.  We have known about some of these aquifers for a long time, carefully mapped for future water well drilling.  Recently, scientists have discovered huge stores of water deep under the earth’s surface that we did not know existed, plenty of water.  And 2) As this seismic activity happened, it may not have been as much that the waters receded to expose the mountain tops as the mountain tops emerged by seismic activity above the waters.  In other words, the Himalayas were not as tall before the flood as they were afterward.  This second concept is reasonable guesswork when reading these chapters of Genesis.  God sent the rainbow as a reminder, but He also changed the contours of the earth.  Notice on an underwater land contour map how there are trenches along or near most of the continental coastlines.  A gentle change in underwater land contour, like in the Gulf coast, adds to increasing storm surge during hurricanes – more local flooding, but those trenches disrupt that increase.

But then, the second Scripture is about Jesus offering living water to the Samaritan woman.  Even life itself is considered in Jesus’ metaphor as water.  For this life, it is here one day and then it is gone, and for most of us, the puddle that we leave dries quickly.

Regardless of whether our neighbors will never notice the puddle that we leave behind or we will be recorded into earth’s history as doing something great, God knows whether you left a legacy, and the legacy that God cares about is whether you spread the Gospel and to whom did you provide aid?

Those “puddles” will be remembered in our rewards at Jesus’ Judgment seat.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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