“Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev 22:17).
At the end of the first day of the Civil War’s battle of Fredericksburg, hundreds of Union men lay wounded near the road ascending Marye’s Heights. For most of the next day, the area was swept by artillery from both lines; no one could help as the dying cried, “Water! Water!” Finally, Richard Kirkland, a sergeant in a South Carolina regiment, went to Kershaw’s headquarters. “General, I can’t stand this. I ask permission to go and give them water.” “Kirkland, it’s sending you to your death, but I cannot oppose. May God protect you.”
The sergeant ventured out and knelt by the nearest sufferer, holding a cup to his lips. Not a shot was fired. He stayed an hour and a half, giving drink to the dying, straightening their mangled limbs, pillowing their heads on their knapsacks, and spreading their army coats over them. Yet all the while the fusillade of death was hushed.
Lord, let us hear the cries for “Water!” today.