Inspired by this wonderful song, I’m beginning a new feature – Everyday Miracles.
When we become more mindful and not distracted, we begin to truly see the amazing aspects of this creation the Creator has made. This feature will reflect upon those “everyday miracles” which are around and within us.
I was encouraged in today’s reflection by an article in The Conversation entitled “The Universe’s Most Miraculous Molecule.” The author, a professor of medicine, thoughtfully shares some facts about water which we might often miss:
Even more remarkably, water is practically the only substance known to man that, as it cools from its liquid to solid state, actually expands. Virtually every other substance becomes denser as it “freezes,” but thanks to this remarkable property, ice cubes float in our drinks. More importantly for living organisms, lakes and other bodies of water freeze from the top down.
How about that form of water which will likely fall from the sky in a month or so?
The adage that no two snowflakes are alike seems hard to believe until you consider the fact that the patterns in which water molecules freeze vary depending on temperature and humidity. When you add the fact that the average snow crystal contains about 10 quintillion (10 followed by 18 zeroes) water molecules, it is easy to see why the number of possible combinations is unimaginably large.
Wow! That’s a ridiculous amount of H20 molecules in a snowflake! So how much total water is there on earth?
As a result, even though the Earth holds enough water to make a sphere about 860 miles in diameter, only a tiny percentage of this water is easily accessible to human beings, and increasing shortages loom in the future. Some scientists have predicted that, as some point in the 21st century, fresh water will become a more valuable commodity than petroleum.
For me, another miraculous aspect of water on earth is that it is constantly recycled. Although the origin of water itself on earth is not fully understood, we know that water is not added to the earth’s water cycle we learned about in elementary school. This means that the H2O molecules in the water composing the cold glass of herbal ice tea on my desk to my left has been cycled through rivers, reservoirs, taps, clouds, droplets of vapor, and even other living creatures – for millions if not billions of years!
The H2O I consume or inhale physically and intimately connects me to aspects of our planet, universe and countless living beings which existed long before me. And when I exhale, the H2O vapor in my breath, will be absorbed into the cycle elsewhere and recycled again and again long after I leave this part of creation. Is it any wonder that we use water in the foundational Christian Sacrament of Baptism? Much like the Holy Spirit which is in us and around us and connects, water does as much.
So, I’ll gratefully drink my tea and give thanks for water and the Holy Spirit for, as the author-doctor of the above article concludes:
A saying often misattributed to Albert Einstein claims there are two ways to lead a life. The first is as though nothing is a miracle, and the second is as though everything is a miracle. Water is entirely natural, hugely abundant and so necessary to life that our cells are bathed in it. Yet it is also so remarkable that, as a physician and scientist, I regard it as little short of miraculous.