Have a Sip of Salvation

By J.C. Samuelson

Yes! You too can join the ranks of those blessed by the Grace of God for as little as $6.95 (plus shipping & handling). Wash away your sins, your guilt, and your thirst at the same time with Holy Spring Water™. Not recommended for ghosts, ghouls, vampires, and other evildoers or creatures of the night (i.e., atheists).

The latter website appears to be a parody similar to the kind found at Landover Baptist Church. Yet truth is stranger than fiction, and yesterday in the news there was an item about a man who actually does sell blessed drinking water.

His name is Brian Germann, president of Wayne Enterprises, Inc.. The product is called Holy Drinking Water™ and can now be purchased online at the company's website.

Mr. Germann got the idea for this blessed libation on June 6th, 2006 (6-6-6) after talking with his niece about the possibility of using holy water as a defense against evil. After finding a bottling company and a couple priests willing to bless the water (blessings have been offered by Catholic and Anglican priests), Mr. Germann began selling his water at Rinaldi's Market in Linden, CA.

Since January about 4,800 bottles have been sold, with over 35% of them having been purchased for donation to troops in Iraq.

Helping to spur interest is the product warning label, which reads:

"Warning to sinners: If you are a sinner or evil in nature, this product may cause burning, intense heat, sweating, skin irritations, rashes, itchiness, vomiting, bloodshot and watery eyes, pale skin color, and oral irritations."

Mr. Germann claims that the warning is both a marketing ploy targeting younger consumers and a means of protecting his product due to common perceptions concerning holy water. He also says that his product is not intended as a substitute for church.

Whether his intent was based on earnest belief or motivated by the lure of profits, the warning label has helped the company go national. Marketing through controversy is nothing new, and it seems likely the company will profit from the buzz generated by the label, at least in the short-term. The question is whether it will last.

What do you think?


San Joaquin County Man Sells Bottled 'Holy Water'
Linden Company Bottles Holy Water
Video available at CNN.com. Click on Browse/Search Video, search terms "holy water."

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