The JudgementTHE WELL. The town may be changed,
But the well cannot be changed.
It neither decreases nor increases.
They come and go and draw from the well.
If one gets down almost to the water
And the rope does not go all the way,
Or the jug breaks, it brings misfortune.
The ImageWater over wood: the image of THE WELL.
Thus the superior man encourages the people at their work,
And exhorts them to help one another.
- 6 - One draws from the well
It is dependable.
Supreme good fortune.
- 5 - In the well there is a clear, cold spring
From which one can drink.
- 4 - The well is being lined. No blame.
- 3 - The well is cleaned, but no one drinks from it.
This is my heart’s sorrow,
For one might draw from it.
If the king were clear–minded,
Good fortune might be enjoyed in common.
- 2 - At the wellhole one shoots fishes.
The jug is broken and leaks.
- 1 - One does not drink the mud of the well.
No animals come to an old well.
CommentaryWood is below, water above.
The wood goes down into the earth to bring up water.
The image derives from the pole–and–bucket well of ancient China.
The wood represents not the buckets, which in ancient times were made of clay, but rather the wooden poles by which the water is hauled up from the well.
The image also refers to the world of plants, which lift water out of the earth by means of their fibers.
The well from which water is drawn conveys the further idea of an inexhaustible dispensing of nourishment.