Rinse kale in cold water; drain well. Remove ends of stems; cut leaves into 2-inch pieces (should have about 22 cups); set aside.
In a large heavy skillet cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring frequently until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain; reserve bacon drippings in skillet.
Return skillet to medium heat and sauté garlic until golden brown. Add kale and water, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the kale is wilted and tender.
Remove cover and continue to simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated. Stir in the bacon and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer kale to a serving dish.