Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletOctober 20, 2019

Earth Concerns News

Water: The Wellspring of Life by Howard Woodard, CSJ Associate

Water is one remarkable molecule. It is made of two parts of the element, hydrogen, and one part of the element, oxygen. Chemists call water a universal solvent. In its own patient way and time, water will dissolve almost everything on God=s earth. That power alone makes water one of the most amazing molecules in existence.

Take a moment or two to think about this simple chemical. Reflect on how you use water and what you know about water. If you want further evidence of the impact of water, look in any dictionary, and you will discover that the editors have devoted a good deal of space to describe water.

We who live in Northeastern United States are quite familiar with the states of matter of water. For four or five months of the year, we see water fall from the heavens as a beautiful, sparkling white crystalline solid. If you=ve never looked at a snowflake, take the opportunity to do so using a magnifying glass. You will see a piece of the Lord=s art work before your eyes. Just as each one of us as human beings is unique in God=s creation, so no solid, crystalline snowflake is similar to its partners. This fact alone gives the water molecule its primary status among the billions of molecules on this earth.

Water, in its liquid state, fills the Finger Lakes, and we see and hear its grandeur washing against a beach and over our feet during a vacation walk. On a cool, sparkling, early fall morning when the cold air and warm earth meet, quick condensation turns water into its gaseous form which some Irish folks call the Afoggy, foggy dew.@ In this form, water vapor mysteriously floats above the land and hugs Mother Earth as well.

Water is clearly transparent. As a chemical, it is very neutral, so it is used in a great number of man-made articles as a dissolver. Some of us sleep on water in a comfortable bed while millions of people love the taste of water in a cup of coffee. Yes, water is everywhere! How many delicious meals have you eaten or prepared with friends that did not have water as an ingredient?

Water is a basic component of physical being and comprises a large percentage of our body weight. We seek water to quench our thirst and water our plants, so that they will bear fruit. Water can save our life, and it is mingled with wine during the celebration of the Eucharist to remind us of Jesus= sharing in our humanity as we partake in his divinity during the celebration.  Water enables the growth of the farmers= bounty and thus calls us to a spirit of thanksgivings for God=s blessings.

In the Book of Genesis (1: 1-2), the author says: AIn the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. The Earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.@ Later Genesis (1: 6-7;9) states, AThen God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters,@ and  ALet the waters under the firmament be gathered together in one place, and let the dry land appear.@

According to scientists who study our universe and the location of the galaxy, all living things began their existence in the primordial seas of God=s life. To some extent we are what we are because of the sea of life. All watersCoceans, lakes, rivers, creeks and pondsCteam with God=s life. We are baptized with water and begin our life as Christians.

Water is precious, a beautiful molecule to behold. Water is our sustenance; it is living water because it is integral to every form of life.


(July-August 2006)