In Emmaus, near Nabi Samwil, there is an old monastery once used in World War I as an advanced station. Major Vivian Gilbert in his Romance of the last Crusade tells that he went there to visit one of his company who had been mortally wounded, and found him in a cot in a special corner of the monastery set aside for the more serious cases, lying in his grey flannel army shirt. Little more than a youngster, he was a general favorite with the men because of his cheery face and witty jokes on the march that had often set the company in a roar. Yet he was going to die very soon in a strange, foreign land thousands of miles from home.
The Major drew an empty ammunition box towards the bed and sat down. He told him the story of Emmaus, of how Christ appeared to His disciples just as night was coming on, and how, as He was about to go, one of them had entreated Him, saying, 'Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent;' and how He had stayed for a while, broken bread and blessed it, and given it to them. Just as the Major finished speaking, a ray from the setting sun stole in at the window and fell across the bed, lighting up the dying soldier's face. The strained, worried look had vanished, and a peaceful, almost happy and contented, expression had taken its place. His hand crept slowly from the side of the bed, and the Major took it in both of his. Then he whispered, `Thank you for telling me that story, sir.'
“Abide with me, fast falls the eventide" is mother's favorite hymn. I shall be able to sleep now. Good night, sir.' And then, lower still, he murmured, 'God bless you.'
(Luke 24. 13-32)