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WATER

BIBLE READING: GENESIS 1.1,2,9,10

1. The Deep

If you look at a globe or map of the world you will soon see that there is no shortage of water on the earth. Three quarters of the earth's surface is covered with water. This does not surprise the Bible student who knows that in the beginning the whole world was covered with great swelling waters called in Genesis 1, verse 2, 'the deep'.

2. The Gathering of the Waters

When we see how much of the earth is covered by water and when we watch the raging waves of the sea we are made to wonder why there is any land showing at all. The reason is that God said, "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so." How this gathering together of the waters took place we are not told. It may have been by an elevation or pushing up of the land and by a depression or sinking down of the rocks below the sea. How it was done we do not know. What we do know is that it is a wonderful work of God. "The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land." (Psalm 95.5) As this is the case and God saw that it was good and approved of it, the waters cannot overflow the land apart from God's will. "He gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment'. (Proverbs 8.29) The dry land and ourselves on it are quite safe in the hands of God.

3. Seas

The gathering together of the waters God called 'Seas' or 'the Sea' because there is one main mass of water surrounding all of the main land masses. This is the great sea which together with the land masses covers our world's surface. God made all of this water very, very important to us.

4. Water is H2O

The Chemistry student knows water as H2O. By this he understands that one molecule of water, that is the smallest possible quantity, is made up of two hydrogen atoms (H2) and one oxygen atom. He might write this as follows:

1 H2O = H2 + O

or he might draw a diagram. He should also know that water in liquid form, of which we see so much, is very rare in the universe except on earth. Just as God gave the earth its own special atmosphere, he also gave to it an abundant water supply. "He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses." (Psalm 33.7) Such a display of God's almighty power should cause us all to reverence him, "Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him." (Psalm 33.8)

5. The Forms of Water

Water is special because it is found on the earth in solid, liquid and gaseous forms. Most metals need very hot temperatures to melt them and make them liquid. Some gases need very very cold temperatures in order to make them liquid. Water, however, can be found as ice, liquid and water vapour (a gas), all within the normal temperatures that we live in from year to year.

Ice

Even ice itself is special. Solids are usually heavier than the liquids from which they are formed but it is not so with ice. Ice, or frozen water, is lighter than water in liquid form and therefore floats on the surface of the water. This can be seen from ice-bergs which are large floating ice blocks in arctic waters. If God in his wisdom had not made water unusual in this way the result would have been disaster and death. Instead of lakes freezing over the surface first, as they do, and the water below remaining liquid, if ice had been heavier than water, lakes would freeze from the bottom upwards and become a solid mass of ice. This would kill all the plants and fishes.

Snow

Snow which is another form of water is also marvellous and full of wonder. Although most snowflakes have six sides it is thought that no two of them are ever exactly alike. All those snowflakes that we have ever seen are, it appears, all different from each other! What a blanket of wonder covers the ground, to show his great power and glory, when the Creator says to the snow, "Be ... on the earth." (Job 37.6)

Rivers and Seas

We can appreciate the beauty of the sparkling stream, the quiet lake, or the swiftly flowing river but when we come to the sea in all of its expansiveness we are faced once again with our own smallness and the greatness of our God. As we gaze upon the little that we can see of an ocean of water we begin to see a little of the glory of the Almighty God who created the sea, fixed its place on the earth that it might not overflow the land and covered it with mist and fog.

"Who shut up the sea with doors, When it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?" (Job 38.8-10)

6. Activities

TO REMEMBER

"The Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land." (Psalm 95.3-5)

WORDS TO LEARN

Globe, shortage, surface, elevation, depression, approve, chemistry, atom, molecule, temperature, gaseous, diagram, ice-berg, glacier, reservoir, loch.

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

1. How much of the earth's surface is covered by water?

2. Why is there any dry land at all?

3. What is a water molecule made up of?

4. What is special about water upon the earth?

5. What is special about ice?

6. What is wonderful about snow?

7. Write about an outing you have had to a river, lake or loch. Say what you enjoyed and what happened while you were there.

8. Write about a visit to the sea-side. Say what you thought about the sea.

THINGS TO DO

1. Find a map of the world or a globe. Sail a model boat on the seas all round the land and see how water surrounds all the land.

2. On a map of the world write in the names of the main oceans, seas and rivers.

3. Collect and display pictures of water in its different forms such as ice, snow, ice-bergs, glaciers, rivers, lakes, water-falls, seas, ponds, reservoirs and clouds.

4. Prove that ice is lighter than water by floating ice cubes in a basin full of water. How much ice remains above the water?

BOOKS TO READ

1. Read about the Lord Jesus Christ's control over the sea in Matthew 14.22ff.

2. Look up references to the Seas mentioned in the Bible:

The Mediterranean: 'the great sea' (Joshua 1.4)

The Red Sea (Exodus 13.18)

The Dead Sea: 'the salt sea' (Genesis 14.3)

The Sea of Galilee (Mark 1.16)

3. Find books to tell you more about the following things:

ice, snow, ice-bergs and glaciers;

streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, reservoirs and lochs; and

seas and oceans.

Write in your notebook how these differ from one another.

PSALM TO SING

Psalm 33.6,7 (Common Metre)

The heavens by the word of God

    did their beginning take;

And by the breathing of his mouth

    he all their hosts did make.

The waters of the seas he brings

    together as an heap;

And in storehouses, as it were,

    he layeth up the deep.