Thursday, January 19, 2017

Water ... In Space and Time

Today my background in science is showing through  in my thoughts.  Specifically, it is the hydrologic cycle, or the water cycle, that I am thinking about.  Water continuously cycles between the liquid and vapor states and back again.  On the surface of the earth, we see liquid water in our oceans, lakes, rivers, and ponds.  This water is continuously evaporating, winding up in air as humidity and clouds.  Then, when atmospheric conditions are right, thunderstorms occur and the water in the air become liquid water again and rains down upon the earth, becoming part of our oceans, lakes, rivers, and ponds once again.  Water is absorbed into the earth and is used by plants and trees.  It may also wind up as ground water, which can then be used by us humans for drinking and cleaning purposes.  It may also be used by manufacturing processes.  Such water may wind up once again as surface water and participate directly in the hydrologic cycle.

The water vapor in the air can be transported across land and water by wind.  This means that water that was once found on the surface in the United States may later be found and participate in the hydrologic cycle on other continents at a different time.  Which brings me to how this topic fits in with the usual theme of this blog.

There are virtually an infinite number of water molecules in all this water.  Imagine that some of the molecules of the water that you used to make your coffee today was transported here through the air from the Holy Land.  These same molecules may have previously been used in, for example, the baptism of Our Lord in the Jordan River, or been part of the blood and water mixture that flowed from the side of Christ when he was struck by the lance while on the cross. 

Water is also a product of the chemical reaction that takes place in an internal combustion engine.  So the hydrogen and oxygen atoms that make up some of that infinite number of water molecules on earth were originally part of gasoline.  This gasoline was originally part of crude oil.  This crude oil originated from decaying plant and animal life that folded into the earth over time.  So, perhaps some of hydrogen and oxygen atoms that make up the water molecules found in your morning coffee was part of the plant and animal kingdom found in the paradise of Adam and Eve.  One thing we can be reasonably sure of is that none of the water, or the hydrogen and oxygen atoms, in your cup of coffee came from somewhere outside the immediate environment of the earth.  The reverse is also true.  The earth is its own ecosystem.  Nothing leaves (except spaceships) and nothing new is introduced (except meteorites).   

Oh, yes ...  it is so much fun to think about stuff like this.  It reminds me an old TV commercial advertising a particular brand of gasoline.  It ended with the phrase:  “Remember that that dinosaur gave his or her all to that tank of gas.”  We can also say:  “Remember that in that cup of coffee we may find some amazing, even holy, things.  God’s creation is really something, isn’t it?

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