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GOSPEL TRUTH: Bravery at North Berwick

The Catherine Watson Memorial…..



On the southern coastline of the Firth of Forth, an interesting monument has stood for over a hundred years. The Catherine Watson Memorial (pictured) is constructed from red granite and occupies a prominent place at Anchor Green, looking out over North Berwick Bay.





A visit to the little town of North Berwick is very worthwhile. Many tourists enjoy souvenir-hunting in the fascinating shops, or relaxing on a seat where they can taste the bracing sea breezes while keeping in contact with friends far away. Just a few yards from the sea-front stands a tall stone monument in the shape of a Celtic cross. It was erected by students of the Glasgow School of Art. According to the plaque, the cross is “a loving tribute” to their fellow-student, Kate Watson, who did not return to the School in the autumn of 1889.



A few terse sentences chiselled into the stonework reveal the sad story. On the 27th July, 1889, nineteen-year-old Catherine Watson saw a boy struggling in the cold waters of East Bay. Realizing that he was drowning, Catherine plunged into the sea to save him — and succeeded. The weathered words on the monument tell us simply, yet poignantly,

The child was saved. The brave girl was taken.

Considering Catherine’s courage, the words of Jesus Christ seem particularly appropriate: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (1).




Heroic acts frequently raise questions in our minds. The unnamed boy who was rescued might well have asked, “Why did you want to save me, Catherine?” If the brave girl could have answered, she would probably have said, “You needed rescuing. I cared, and I didn’t want you to drown.”


This incident, as well as the monument itself, reminds us of another “rescue” that took place about two thousand years ago. The Son of God saw that the whole of humanity was “lost” (2). Leaving the safety of heaven, Jesus came to this earth to save us from hell by dying on the cross for our sins. The cross at North Berwick speaks of Catherine’s sacrificial love. The Bible declares that “the Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me” [emphasis added] (3).




How foolish it would have been if the boy had refused Catherine’s help! Without her, he would certainly have drowned. Without Christ, we too are doomed and “without hope” (4). Are you saying “No thanks” to the Lord Jesus — imagining that you really don’t need Him? Just as the boy surrendered himself to the strong arms of his rescuer, so we must yield to Christ and allow Him to save us.




It seems a tragedy that Kate Watson died so young when all of life was before her. The Lord Jesus died young as well — just thirty-three years of age — but His death was no tragedy. We are told in Scripture that He had to die, be buried, and be raised from the dead on the third day (5). He gave His life to save us, and because He lives today Jesus Christ can save all those who come to God by Him (6).



Having read this brief message, will you ask Him to be your Saviour? If you really want Him to save you, find a quiet place and pray to Him. The following words may help you if you are unsure what to say:

“Lord Jesus, I have sinned against You and deserve punishment. I believe You died for my sins on the cross. I am sorry for my sins and want to live a different life — with Your help. Please come into my life, cleanse me from my sin, and be my Saviour. Amen.”


END NOTES:-  (1)John 15:13;  (2)Luke 19:10;  (3)Galatians 2:20;  (4)Ephesians 2:12;  (5)1 Corinthians 15:3-4;  (6)Hebrews 7:25.