Cafeausoul logo
Go to home page

I ching

Jing (The Well)

I Ching Hexagram 48
Jing (The Well)

Action: Inspire

Hu Gua (hidden influence) 38 Opposition: Accommodate

Zong Gua (underlying cause) 21 Biting Through: Discern

You can spend a lifetime
and still never come anywhere close
to exhausting the resources
that are inside of you.

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks within, awakes. – Carl Jung

Reading at a Glance: The Well is associated with the reservoir of unconscious activity like fear and inspiration. It can also symbolize elements of life that do not change. “The town may be changed but the well cannot be changed.” This hexagram can be a representation of complex situations that are unfathomable and can only be understood over time. The beginning of any relationship opens a depth of feeling in a way that can be overwhelming and requires time to allow the situation to reveal itself. In work, the Well can show that you possess the deep inner resources to meet the challenge. The hidden influence of Opposition asks you to accommodate the needs of others by nourishing them. During a time of Biting Through you had the opportunity to discern or use the mind to comprehend events. Now you are asked to reach deeper within your reservoir of spirit to activate intuition. Observing the guidance presented by your dreams can reveal much about your life path. The object of your enquiry is something that is enduring and not easily changed. It can suggest a relationship that remains vague and undefined. Over time it can appear to be changing or moving forward yet it always seems to come back to the same issues. When people are learning from each other under the influence of the Well, the connection goes deep and can give definition to the spirit. However, it is important to realize that all relationships require that the life sustaining waters are kept clear. This can mean that communication needs to be honest and open so that assumptions and misunderstandings don’t dilute the purity of interaction. The situation may be transforming fear by leading you toward the vulnerability required for intimacy. Whether the message is about the enormous creative gifts at your disposal or the abundance of feeling associated with the situation, the Well promises some type of inner journey that will lead to sustenance. As inexhaustible nourishment from the deep source of the psyche, the Well can be an initiation into intimacy and authentic expression.

looking up at rays of light coming from sky through water

Untie the rope,

discard the bucket.

The inexhaustible source

is the water

of an endless stream.

“One that is oppressed above is sure to turn downward. Hence follows the idea of the Well.” When oppressed outwardly, you eventually turn inward. “The town may be changed but the Well cannot be changed.” Circumstances change, although the root of experience always leads to the same place: within. You can change what your experiences will “look and feel like” by traveling inward to look at life’s reflection in the great reservoir of the heart.

The master said: “That is why the sage is concerned with what is inside and not what is seen outside. One abandons the ‘that’ to lay hold of the ‘this.’” The difference between ‘this’ and ‘that’ is ownership.

"This" resides in the Well, and Ching is the image of accessing the unknown depths of your mysterious nature. The Gentle symbolizes wood, embodying how a plant stalk finds nourishment from the wellspring beneath the earth. “Discover the Well before you are thirsty.” You are coached to delve into the inexhaustible resource within to find your unique pattern of development. You could spend a lifetime and never come anywhere close to exhausting its resources.

At the same time, there is danger of being overly focused on knowledge or what is correct, which will disconnect you from what can be gained by experience. In this, your self-development can be arrested.

Ching is the state of mind that bubbles from the great reservoir of the heart. In the image of nine fields with the well at the center, each family farmed their individual fields, but collectively worked the ninth field at the center, since it housed the well and belonged to the lord. The eight fields represent daily routine but the ninth field required a sacrifice if one would draw from its contents. To access your undiscovered potential you need to sacrifice the known and travel into a strange territory.

The master said: “Penetrating under the water and bringing up the water: this is the Well. If one goes down almost to the water and the rope does not go all the way, one has not achieved anything.” You sometimes only discover this pathway, and reach this inner sustenance because events throw you back upon yourself.

Symbolically, water has always personified the unseen and unknown. In dreams, water embodies how we approach change, and its behavior reflects how we feel about these changes. Many myths present water as the powerful reservoir, where the hero must solve a mystery before receiving a great treasure. The Abysmal appears dangerous only to those afraid to test their inner depths.

The Well holds the unseen or unrecognized potential that you can draw upon as power. “Look within and discover the world; look without and discover the self;” the inner and outer cannot be separated. “The Well shows the field of character, abiding in its place, yet it has an influence on other things.” Any changes to what you experience ‘out there’ must first be cultivated ‘in here.’ What remains hidden is actively seeking expression and experience will always brings it forward.

When you look into your heart, you discover the seeds of your destiny. Composure within will always reflect itself upon experience. This is the rope that goes all the way down to the water. When you awaken sincerity, you discover the Way.


The well is deep = and flows from the waters of an unending stream. The Well unchanging is usually associated with deep fears we would rather not face. In a relationship, someone might be unable to make a deeper, more intimate connection because of doubts and fears. This hexagram can symbolize how you have much to share with others as an inexhaustible and nourishing soul. Since the Well is unchanging and the hexagram appears in unchanging form, whatever your object of enquiry you cannot expect the situation to change. The situation is deep, profound and not one that can be easily described. Since the Well is associated with the inspiration of dreams or intuition, you might need to look deeper into this aspect of yourself for guidance. Whatever you are sharing – the Well stays put and you need to encourage others to come to it. It is deep and profound and others may not initially 'get it' but your intentions are of the highest order. The Well can portray a highly inspired individual such as an artist or spiritual ally. Of course, as with anything associated with the unconscious, it is important to ensure that you are not operating in illusion or fantasy.

Line 1:

One does not drink the mud of the well = no animals come to an old well. Changes to (5) Nourishment While Waiting. Some aspect of the situation has not been maintained and is no longer providing nourishment. Even while it has been neglected, Nourishment While Waiting suggests that through patience and diligent work, the source can be renewed. Since the water is muddy, renewal will take an overhaul in how the situation is structured.

Line 2:

At the well hole one shoots fishes = the jug is broken and leaks. Changes to (39) Obstruction. The situation is old and worn out yet does provide some nourishment. You may not have everything you want but you do get what you need. Obstruction like the broken bucket can show that all is not hopeless. However, the situation has been neglected and may be in decline.

Line 3:

The well is cleaned, but no one drinks from it = leads to heart’s sorrow because it could be very nourishing. Changes to (29) Abyss. Because of the fear of danger, a valuable resource is not being put to use. In a relationship, someone may be fearful and holding back. This can be heartbreaking for the other who has feelings that run deep. Only fearlessness can transform your ability to obtain your desire.

Line 4:

The well is being lined = no blame. Changes to (28) Critical Mass. After a situation reaches a breaking point, it deteriorates. However since the source of this nourishment is being restructured, there will be an opportunity to enjoy it again. In this situation establishing foundational agreements may be necessary to ensure a healthy balance supports it.

Line 5:

In the well there is a clear cold spring = one can drink from it. Changes to (46) Pushing Upward. The situation is robust and provides nourishment for all. Knowing how valuable something is, you are careful to keep communication clear and focused on growth.

Line 6:

One draws from the well without hindrance = it is dependable, good fortune. Changes to (57) Penetration. Over time a situation proves to be a dependable source of constant nourishment. You are appreciated for the wealth of resources or insight you provide others. Supreme good fortune is suggested because you are open to sharing what you have with others. Penetration shows small efforts sustained over time.

*This page provides insight on the following combinations: Hexagram 48 unchanging Hexagram 48.1 Hexagram 48.1.2 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 48.2 Hexagram 48.2.3 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 48.3 Hexagram 48.3.4 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 48.4 Hexagram 48.4.5 Hexagram Hexagram 48.5 Hexagram 48.5.6 Hexagram 48.6