This is a guest blog from Neil Palmer, who lives in Perth, Australia (the driest continent in the world). These are his words and truths about natural water and spiritual water.
“I have been a professional water engineer for 37 years. Water is a fascinating substance. It gives life. All living things need water. Your body is 60% water. If you have no water to drink you will die within a few days. As a kid I recall a family being stranded in an isolated part of the great Australian desert when their car broke down. They set out for help, walked in a big circle, and died one by one of thirst.
We use water for cooking because it boils at 212 degrees F and controls cooking temperature. Our body evaporates water to cool itself, and automatically regulates our body temperature to 96 degrees F. When water is heated it turns to steam, vastly increasing in volume. If constrained in a vessel, pressure increases. In the industrial revolution, this provided power for machinery and transport. As a result it transforms people’s lives and provides the economic basis for our modern society.
Curiously, when salt water freezes, the ice becomes fresh with natural separation of water from salt. All icebergs are fresh. Further, water is the only substance that expands when it freezes. This is important because it means ice floats. Imagine if this were not the case. Oceans in high latitudes would be frozen solid and all the fish, seals, and whales would be dead. Interred in monuments of ice.
Water flows upward through plants and trees by osmosis. A phenomenon where freshwater is sucked naturally through semi-permeable membranes into saltier water. Some types of albatross, who spend weeks at sea, have glands near their eyes which separate and remove excess salt from their bloodstream. Artificial membranes are used in desalination plants to make fresh water from salt water. This is called reverse osmosis, and is the most common form of desalination in the world today. It provides hundreds of millions of people with drinking water.
Mankind is intelligent and we have learnt much from scientific observation so that we now have a good understanding of the physics and chemistry of water, ice, and steam. Well, what I mean is, we know how things happen. But we actually have no idea why things happen. Who decided that water should boil at 212 degrees F, or expand when it freezes? And who designed these systems? Who wrote the manuals of instruction?
I find it comforting to know there is a greater Intelligence (God) who decreed the Laws of Nature, wrote the specifications, and keeps it all going with so much order and consistency. Imagine the utter chaos and destruction if just one law, for example the law of gravity, were suspended for one day. On the other hand, I struggle with the alternative, which is to try and believe that it all happened because of some fortunate intersection of time, chance, and matter (i.e., that it happened by accident). For me it takes an enormous amount of faith to believe that!
Jesus is recorded in the Gospel of John as speaking about water:
But whosoever drinks of the water that I give them shall never thirst; but shall be a well of water springing up into everlasting life (chapter 4), and,
He that believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of him shall flow rivers of living water (chapter 7). This is a reference to the consequence of receiving the Holy Spirit.
Accepting Jesus’ transformational love (for which water is a symbol) provides an opportunity to slake our spiritual thirst. Ultimately the joy and gratitude generated by such an experience flows on to impact others.
So water is a fascinating and essential material which gives life to all things. It provides strong evidence that some Intelligence has designed its properties and behavior, and continues to maintain order and predictability which we depend upon.
Water is also an agent of peace and tranquillity. Psalm 23 says:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want: He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
Lastly, water is an allegory for abundance of life. It is not hard to imagine the severe restriction on life brought on by thirst. In a spiritual sense, drinking life-changing water that Jesus spoke of enables us to go on to the great joy of helping others to find this water. So next time you drink a humble glass of water, you might wonder at its miraculous properties, and consider its importance to your life”.
Neil Palmer has spent his entire professional career in the water industry in Australia, and is now leading a desalination research centre in Perth, Western Australia.
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