What Good Is A Sponge?
We were walking along a dock in Tarpon Springs, Florida, when we came upon a boat where several young men were in the process of being arrested. The charge against them was that they were illegally collecting sponges in the Gulf of Mexico. One of them protested his arrest by saying to an officer "Come on, it's just a sponge! What good are they?"
The truth of the matter is that sponges are pretty marvelous creations. There are 10,000 species of sponges that inhabit both fresh and salt water. In recent years compounds derived from sponges have turned out to be useful in cancer-fighting drugs and in medicines to help prevent the rejection of transplanted organs. More important is what sponges do for the oceans, lakes, and rivers where they grow.
Sponges do not look like animals. They can have many different colors and have tough skin, sharp spicules, and rows of polyps. Contrary to popular belief, sponges can move. Although very slowly (1/25th of an inch per day). A sponge will take several hundred gallons of water a day into its chamber using whip like flagella to make a strong current. The sponge filters this water, removing 90% of the bacteria. This is what the sponge eats, returning the cleansed water to the outside. The beautiful clear water seen in many places in the world is due to a great extent to the sponges that clean it.
"What good is a sponge?" It is an exquisitely designed essential part of the water world we all depend on and enjoy, and that design is a reflection of the wisdom of a purposeful creator.
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