top of page

Three Canteens of Love

“We may not be able to prevent other people from being our enemies, but we can prevent ourselves from being enemies toward others.”-Warren Wiersbe

A few weeks ago, Cay and I explored Fredericksburg, VA. We drove past antiques stores, eateries, and gift shops. And safely ate lunch in our car.

We discovered a trail that was open to the public, meandering through the Civil War battlefield. The excellent signage detailed rock walls used for protection, a building riddle with bullet holes, and a somber cemetery filed with unmarked graves. On the trail we encountered a statue to Richard Kirkland, “The Angel of Marye’s Heights.”

During a lull in the fighting, this 19-year old Confederate soldier heard the cries of wounded Union soldiers. He couldn’t do much, but he filled three canteens with water and worked his way throughout the carnage, offering drinks to many who would take their last swallow.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

If Richard Kirkland could take three canteens of mercy to people who a few hours earlier were firing their rifles at him, maybe we can all find a way to tone down the rhetoric, reach out to people with whom we disagree, and be a little more like this 19-year old “angel.” 


bottom of page