Remove strings from beans; wash and remove tough ends. Set beans aside.
Cook bacon in a large saucepan until crisp; drain on paper towels, and set aside. Reserve 1/4 cup bacon drippings in pan.
Sauté onion in reserved bacon drippings until tender. Add beans; cook over medium heat 2 minutes, stirring well. Add water; cover and cook 30 minutes or until beans are tender. Add salt, pepper, and reserved bacon; stir well. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle relish over top for garnish, if desired.