The Configuration of the Water Molecule
A molecule of water is composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen. The one and only electron ring around the nucleus of each hydrogen atom has only one electron. The negative charge of the electron is balanced by the positive charge of one proton in the hydrogen nucleus. The electron ring of hydrogen would actually prefer to possess two electrons to create a stable configuration. Oxygen, on the other hand, has two electron rings with an inner ring having 2 electrons, which is cool because that is a stable configuration. The outer ring, on the other hand, has 6 electrons but it would like to have 2 more because, in the second electron ring, 8 electrons is the stable configuration. To balance the negative charge of 8 (2+6) electrons, the oxygen nucleus has 8 protons. Hydrogen and oxygen would like to have stable electron configurations but do not as individual atoms. They can get out of this predicament if they agree to share electrons (a sort of an energy "treaty"). So, oxygen shares one of its outer electrons with each of two hydrogen atoms, and each of the two hydrogen atoms shares it's one and only electron with oxygen. This is called a covalent bond. Each hydrogen atom thinks it has two electrons, and the oxygen atom thinks that it has 8 outer electrons. Everybody's happy, no?
However, the two hydrogen atoms are both on the same side of the oxygen atom so that the positively charged nuclei of the hydrogen atoms are left exposed, so to speak, leaving that end of the water molecule with a weak positive charge. Meanwhile, on the other side of the molecule, the excess electrons of the oxygen atom, give that end of the molecule a weak negative change. For this reason, a water molecule is called a "dipolar" molecule. Water is an example of a polar solvent (one of the best), capable of dissolving most other compounds because of the water molecule's unequal distribution of charge. In solution, the weak positively charged side of one water molecule will be attracted to the weak negatively charged side of another water molecule and the two molecules will be held together by what is called a weak hydrogen bond. At the temperature range of seawater, the weak hydrogen bonds are constantly being broken and re-formed. This gives water some structure but allows the molecules to slide over each other easily, making it a liquid.