An evening with author and Blood:Water co-founder Jena Lee Nardella

An evening with author and Blood:Water co-founder Jena Lee Nardella


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This post comes to us from ONE volunteer Elaine VanCleave.

I recently joined the faith community of ONE contributor James Nardella and his wife, Blood:Water co-founder Jena Lee Nardella. So when I heard about the impending publication of Jena’s memoir, One Thousand Wells, I couldn’t wait to read it.

On August 24, I attended the launch of the book tour at Nashville Public Library’s [email protected] Both Jena and Blood:Water’s co-founder, Dan Haseltine of Christian rock band Jars of Clay, were there to speak.

Jena spoke first, passionately recalling some of her experiences in co-founding Blood:Water with a belief that the organization could help “eradicate HIV/AIDS and provide safe water for all.”

The initial goal was to “provide a thousand communities in Africa, especially the ones affected by HIV, with clean water.” Jena outlined how, in the Judeo-Christian faiths, the prophet Isaiah describes a way to move into action with a call to “loose, undo, let, share, bring, and clothe.” Jena beautifully summarized this as “a call to love the world.”


Blood:Water co-founder Jena Lee Nardella. Photo credit: Elaine VanCleave

After her initial comments, Jena was joined onstage by Dan and the two were interviewed by Jena’s priest—and now mine, too!—Reverend Becca Stevens, founder of Thistle Farms and Magdalene House.

In One Thousand Wells, Jena skillfully, and with naked honesty, takes us on her journey—and what an adventure it is! From being voted “most likely to devote my life to a lost cause” in high school to the outstanding success of Blood:Water’s 1000 Wells Project, Jena deftly transports readers into her world with the ease of a gifted storyteller.

The book’s complete title is One Thousand Wells: How an Audacious Goal Taught Me to Love the World Instead of Save It, so Dan closed the evening by challenging the audience to “step into their own story further… to write down their audacious goal and to share it with someone.” This challenge should definitely speak to ONE members, who are no strangers to audacious goals!

Catch Jena and Dan on the book tour, which runs until September 12!

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