The Visionary I Ching Mobile App:

I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

48: The Well

The Well

Throughout various cultures of the world, the well has served as a symbol for that which sustains life and provides a constant, inexhaustible source of nourishment.

Like the well, human nature is basically the same around the world. The passage of time cannot add to its dimensions, nor take anything away. Still, just as the well can be deepened to produce clearer water, we can enrich our lives by delving deeply within, to tap our essential nature and reach the true source of our spiritual nourishment.

Beware of shallow thinking. Like a little learning, it can be dangerous. The image of the well suggests that going more deeply within produces clarity. Be patient, and penetrate your problems — and your own nature — to the core. Self-development is key to reaching the deep, clear waters. If you do not lower your bucket into the deep, you’re likely to come up empty. Remember: When greater depth is sought, lessening the speed of operations is often required. Carelessness in the process of meeting needs is dangerous.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

Drinking from a muddy well leads to misfortune. The mind easily becomes confused when it is preoccupied with trivialities or phantom images. Plumb the source. Live your life fully and plunge in deeply -- but don’t dive in too far over your head too quickly right now. Foolhardy endeavors are a waste of time.

Line 2

The water in the well is clear, but not being used. This illustrates the situation of a person who possesses talents that are being ignored. Others will begin to neglect you, if you neglect what is best in yourself. At a time such as this, nothing significant can be accomplished, even if no specific bad fortune is indicated either.

Line 3

The well is clean, but not being used. This is a shame, for like an abandoned well, your abilities are not being recognized -- to your own chagrin, and to the detriment of others. If someone in a high position (or perhaps that highest and best part of yourself) recognizes your abilities -- then magnificent good fortune can result.

Line 4

The walls of the well are currently being lined with stone, so the time is not yet ripe to lower the bucket. There are times when the priority in life is to put details in order, and save profound exploration for another time. For now, it is more important to gain discipline in small things, so that you will be able to profit from your self-improvements in the future.

Line 5

The well is fed from a clear, cool spring. A good and honest character is as clean and refreshing as spring water. This points to profit, advancement, and success; but the water is not drawn just yet, so the potential is not fulfilled. It’s not enough to have access to a good well. For it to be of value, you must drink from it -- in other words, you must walk your path. You can only make knowledge yours through actual experience.

Line 6 (top line)

You draw from the well without hindrance because you have grown to be as dependable as it is. Supreme good fortune, for you possess the qualities necessary for success. Just like a well brimming with fresh water, your openness and generosity benefit everyone including yourself.