Why is water so shiny?

I wonder why water is so shiny. I don’t mean that I wonder at the physics behind glinting sunlight reflected on a late-afternoon river. I don’t want to image001understand the formula for the change in the direction of a light ray at the interface between two different media. I’d probably get lost in your explanation of specular light reflection.

I mean that I wonder — as in standing at rapt attention, with deep emotion — at the sight of light shimmering on the surface of the rippling river before me. I wonder, in the way of amazement and thanks, at the mind of the Maker of dazzling reflections.

For God could have ordained that the dance of sunlight on water instead be dull and murky and flat. He could have set up the physics of it all so that the view bored, or lulled, or depressed us. Shadowlike. Dim. Sucking toward lifelessness. Those could have been the words we’d end up using to describe light on water. He didn’t have to make water reflect back light in so sparkly a way. He could have determined that we’d think only of water’s reflecting surface as blackened and gloomy, or meaningless and forgetful.

Rather, a blazing shine

But instead, He determined that bedazzling our eyes with radiant, glittery reflections would be good. I’m so glad He did — and I wonder again at His purpose. We know that all things He creates are good, and that nothing He creates (including specular light reflection) is without purpose. So, could it be that He means for the near-blinding shine to turn our minds upon Him? Does He mean for us to stop in the hurry of our day and breathe deeply of His magnificence? Does He mean for us to remember to glory in the knowledge of His Son?

“For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” (Romans 1: 20)

“And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”  (Rev. 21:23)

“He (Jesus) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power.” (Heb. 1:3)

Ah. Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God.  And in the new heaven and new earth God’s glory will radiate light through the Lamb, Jesus. And in the here and now, as in the Someday-soon-to-be, He means for the eyes of my heart to be arrested by His glorious, shimmering light. His light shines with a bedazzling glimmer as “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). The Lord purposes that my eyes-to-the-ground afternoon be stopped short and attracted by His dancing rivulets of light — so that I would remember, and humbly and joyously submit to His eternal power and divine nature.

Oh might it be so, Lord! As the days of spring give way to summery sunshine glistening on lakes and rivers and oceans, turn our minds to You. Father, lift our hearts to the luminous glory of Christ when our eyes view Your blazing reminders upon the water. We want lives that stand at rapt attention, with deep emotion, when we think of You, the Maker of dazzling reflections.

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About Jill

I'm a wife, mom to three beautiful children, and currently work at two jobs for which I'm very grateful -- part-time at my kids' school, and as children's ministry director at Redeemer PCA in Athens, GA, a place our family treasures as our church home. It's been thirty years since the Lord saved me, and to this day I'm astounded at His steadfast love shed upon unfaithful me. My hope would be that I might speak and write in ways God would use to soften hearts toward Him, that we would together be enamored by the glorious beauty of Jesus and awakened to His love unimagined. Thanks so much for reading!
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3 Responses to Why is water so shiny?

  1. Heather Morse says:

    Thank you for words that describe what it means to worship.

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Jill says:

      I can’t now look at shiny water (ocean, pool, lake or river) without remembering Him — and I’m so glad. I hope so much He uses what I wrote to do the same for you and many others!

  2. Pingback: ferns and summer and rays of sunlight | Even More Beautiful

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