There are an estimated 326 million trillion gallons of water
on the Earth.The Earth is covered with
70 percent water, 98 percent of which is salty.Only a small portion of the Earth’s water is fresh, and 1.6 percent of
that is locked up in the polar ice caps and glaciers.Another 0.36 percent of the water is found
underground in aquifers and wells.Only
about 0.036 percent of the planet’s total freshwater supply is found in lakes,
rivers, and streams.The rest of the planet’s freshwater is floating in the air as clouds and
water vapor, locked up in the tissues of plants and animals, and sitting on
shelves in stores as bottled water and other beverages.
The Earth’s water is always in circulation in a rapid
recycling process called the water cycle.This cycle describes the continuous movement of water on, above, and
below the surface of the Earth.In the
cycle, water can change from liquid, vapor, or ice at various periods.The process starts when the Sun’s heat warms
the Earth’s surface waters causing the evaporation of water molecules into the
air, changing the water from a liquid to a gas.The rate of evaporation is determined by temperature, humidity, and
wind.The oceans supply about 80 percent
of the evaporated water that goes into the atmosphere.
Another important source of water entering the atmosphere is
through a process called transpiration.Transpiration is the process by which plants release water into the
air.The most important sources of
transpiration are the great forests of the world, especially the rain forests
of the tropics.Transpiration accounts
for 10 percent of all evaporating water going into the atmosphere.
As the water evaporates into the atmosphere, it cools and
forms clouds.The clouds are groups of
tiny water droplets or ice crystals and can come in all shapes and sizes.Water can be carried great distances as
clouds, with the help of winds.When
conditions are right, the water returns to the Earth in the form of
precipitation as either rain, snow, hail, sleet, or freezing rain.After the water returns to the surface of the
Earth, it flows into rivers and streams which take it back to the oceans, or it
soaks into the ground to water plants and renew underground aquifers.Then the process starts over again.Individual water molecules in an apple you
ate yesterday may have fallen as rain halfway around the world last year or may
have been frozen in a glacier a thousand years ago.
Without water, life would not exist.Jesus says that He is the source of living
water: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and
drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his
belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37, 38.
“The cry of Christ to the thirsty soul is still going forth,
and it appeals to us with even greater power than to those who heard it in the
temple on the last day of the feast.The
fountain is open for all.The weary and
exhausted ones are offered the refreshing draught of eternal life.Jesus is still crying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.’ [John 7:37, last
part].‘Let him that is athirst
come.And whosoever will, let him take
the water of life freely’ (Revelation ).‘Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall
give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in
him a well of water springing up into everlasting life’ (John ).”The Desire of Ages, 454.
David Arbour writes from his home in De Queen,
Arkansas.He may be contacted by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.