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One Thousand Wells

"The thing about lost causes is that they’re only lost if you leave them behind.”

-- Jena Nardella, "One Thousand Wells"

One Thousand Wells coverJena Nardella, co-founder of Blood:Water and one of Christianity Today's 33 Under 33, shares how her passion for saving the world grew into a humbler long-term calling of loving the world in all its brokenness in this beautifully written memoir.

Ten years ago, Jena Lee Nardella was a fresh-out-of-college, twenty-something with the lofty goal of truly changing the world. Armed with a diploma, a thousand dollars, and a dream to build one thousand wells in Africa, she joined forces with Grammy Award-winning band Jars of Clay to found Blood:Water and begin her mission.

Jena's dream for her nonprofit turned that initial $1 into $20, and then $100, and today into more than $25 million. Working throughout eleven countries in Africa, Blood:Water has provided healthcare for over 62,000 people in HIV-affected areas and has partnered with communities to provide clean water for more than one million people in Africa. But along the way she faced many harsh realities that have tested her faith, encountered corruption and brokenness that nearly destroyed everything she'd fought for, and taught her that wishful thinking will not get you very far. Jena discovered that true change comes only when you stop trying to save the world and allow yourself to love it, even when it breaks your heart.

With a fresh, intelligent, and winsome voice, Jena Lee Nardella weaves an evocative personal narrative filled with honest and hard-won lessons that demonstrate the amazing things that can happen when you fight for your dreams.

Blood:Water Book Club: “One Thousand Wells,” Section 1

SummaryIn the first section of “One Thousand Wells,” we begin to understand Jena’s sheltered childhood and what evolved from her early life in the Bay Area and Colorado. Her first experience with poverty marked her life forever, and…


Blood:Water Book Club: “One Thousand Wells,” Section 2

Summary After touring with Jars of Clay for a while, Jena Lee Nardella flew to Kenya with Joel, a Blood:Water volunteer to investigate possible partners for Blood:Water and strategize for the 1000 Wells Project. While in Kenya, Jena…


Blood:Water Book Club: “One Thousand Wells,” Section 3

Summary Upon attending the funeral of a college friend in Lwala, Kenya, Jena learns about the practice of ignoring grief due to the high frequency of death in the community. She also witnesses extreme cultural differences when she…


Blood:Water Book Club: “One Thousand Wells,” Section 4

Summary Jena’s sense of defeat continues as she faces more brokenness in the world, and she starts to question if justice is really worth fighting for. As she begins to look for a way to step out of…


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