48 Jing3

The lower: Xun (to enter, the wind). The upper: Kan (the abyss, water).

Jing: the well; to provide one's service unselfishly and ceaselessly; to develop a new product like drilling a well for the cold and refreshing water






It will definitely return to the ground after being besieged (Kun4) at its height; therefore Jing is granted. It is perilous to stay high; it will definitely come down after being besieged at a high point. Jing in Chinese means a well, the deepest point in the earth that ancient people had access to. The well here is outfitted with a rope and bucket to draw water up. Hexagram Jing is the reversal of Kun4. Hexagram Kun4 suggests an encounter with difficulties as well as opportunities, while hexagram Jing suggests unobstructed progress, like well water that can be drawn up.

The upper trigram Kan is water while the lower trigram Xun is wood; wood in water rises and lifts up water, which is the image of drawing up water from a well.

 The inner hexagram of Jing is Kui (38), alienation, which suggests that people must resolve their differences regarding ownership of the well so that all people may freely access the water. Its changing hexagram is Shi He (21), biting through, which refers to the great strife that arises over ownership of well. This is the reason that hexagram Jing ends up with a break in its bucket. Conversely, just like the obstacle of hexagram Shi He must be bitten off, the well must be constantly maintained so its clean water can be drawn up without obstruction.

Hexagram Kun4 (47) is a depleted marsh; hexagram Jing (48) drills the well to get water. After Jing, the next hexagram is Ge (49), revolution, signifying that once water is found, people will start to gather and settle around the well. This will lead to a momentous change, not only in the settled environment, but in the social system too.


Text: Jing (the well), the townscape has changed (but) the well remains unchanging; (the water of the well) neither decreases nor increases; (people) come and go in the drawing of water from the well.  The rope has not reached the top of the well yet; the bucket breaks, (which is of) an ominous omen.

Commentary on the text: Xun (of the lower trigram enters) water (of the upper trigram Kan) lifting water, (which is the image of) Jing.  Jing raises (people) and has never been depleted (of water); the townscape has changed (but) the well remains unchanging, (like) (the one of) rigidity (i.e. line 5) at the axle centre.  The rope has not reached the top of the well yet, (and) merit has not been achieved.  The bucket breaks; hence it is ominous.

Text explanation:

Hexagram Jing forms after the bottom line of trigram Qian (perseverance, heaven) ascends to the middle of trigram Kun (submissiveness, earth), and the middle line of trigram Kun descends to the bottom of trigram Qian.




The original trigram Kun (submissiveness, earth) refers to people and land, which here means the town. After the well forms the townscape changes.

People come and go, drawing water from the well; the well supplies water to all people unselfishly and with no discrimination. Drawing neither increases nor decreases the water so it provides water to people inexhaustibly. Year after year, regardless of changes to the town or its residents, the well remains the same, like its host line, the strong and firm line 5, lasting eternally through the principle of moderation.

However, the jug breaks before its rope reaches the top of the well, signifying that drawing the water has failed; this is ominous.

The lower trigram Xun denotes the rope for drawing. The inner upper trigram Li (clinging, fire) is the void feminine in the middle of the solid masculine, suggesting a bucket. The inner lower trigram Dui is signified as to bend and break; thus the jug breaks while the water is being drawn.


Commentary on the image: Water over wood; Jing.  A gentleman, in accordance with this, serves the people with great care and effort, and encourages them to help each other.

The well provides people with water unselfishly and inexhaustibly; so does a gentleman exerts himself to serve people, encouraging them to extend service to others.


The well provides water to all people. However people fight each other for it and become estranged, as suggested by its changing hexagram Shi He (21) and inner hexagram Kui (38), alienation. The bucket breaks before it reaches the top of the well, which is ominous. It is not the fault of the well but rather of the drawer.

Owing to its failure at the last moment, all four virtues: origination, smooth progress, advantage and persistence, become meaningless; thus hexagram Jing possesses none of them.

Its changing hexagram is Shi He (21), biting through, indicating great strife; the weak are preyed upon by the strong, signifying that people start to fight over the water once the well is drilled and operating. The commentary on the image suggests that people should provide service to each other freely, like the well.






The upper trigram Kan is water, which streams into the well through the path of correlation to the lower trigram. The feminine line represents the well, while the masculine line is the water. Water from the well can only be drunk after it's drawn up, which signifies that the masculine line must have access to position 6. A line stays at its right position and act righteously, signifying that its performance conforms to the norm of the well, or its water, i.e. the well is in good condition, or its water is potable.

Conventionally Jing is taken for a hexagram related to people's service and contribution to society, like the well providing people with water. It can also be interpreted as a research and development project for a new product, like digging a well for clean and refreshing water. Seen this way, the six positions represent six steps: product orientation, technology, production, marketing and sales, the product, and after-sales service. The project will succeed, like water springing up from a well, if line 5 is triggered to move or activated to change accordingly. However, if change takes place at any stage before position 5, particularly at stage 4, it is usually seen as the likelihood of failure.


The 1st line

Text: The sludge of Jing (the well) is not potable; no bird (perches on) an old well.

Text explanation:

Line 1 is the feminine line coming from trigram Kun (submissiveness, earth). Here it is earth and stays at the bottom of the well; it has no correlation with the upper trigram Kan, water; therefore it forms sludge. Because it has no access to the top of the well, the sludge will remain at the bottom. Eventually the well will be abandoned, even by the birds.

People must make themselves useful in society; if a person has nothing to offer, or is grudging in his contribution, he will be forsaken by society.

Commentary on the image: The sludge of Jing (the well) is not potable, (as it stays) below.  No bird (perches on) an old well, (signifying that the well is destined) to be abandoned over the course of time.

Enlightenment through six one: to leave behind the dry well and dig a new one. The sludge in the well is not suitable for drinking, but many worms live in it. If it remains at the bottom even the birds will leave, signifying that the well will be completely abandoned. If this line changes to masculine, the hexagram will become Xu (5), to wait, where one must have a target while waiting and undertake planned action when the right time comes. A product with no sales is like the sludge. Therefore the strategy and target of a new product must be devised.


The 2nd line

Text: (Water) spraying from the cavity of Jing (the well) (is barely enough to raise) the crucian carp (i.e. small fish); the bucket breaks and leaks.

 Text explanation:

Line 2 is masculine, i.e. water, but it has no correlation with the upper trigram Kan, the source of water. This signifies a small amount of water in the cavity of the well, enough to support small fish but not enough for human use. The water is potable, as the fish can live in it, but the amount is limited. The old bucket breaks and leaks; therefore the water can't be drawn up like line 2 having no access to position 6 at the top of the well.

Line 1 is feminine and occupied by line 2; the feminine represents fish, as fish live in water without sunshine (i.e. in the shade associated with shadowy feminine). Trigram Li (clinging, fire) is a bucket; lines 1 and 2 form only half of trigram Li, i.e. like a broken bucket.




Owing to having limited abilities and no outlet, one's contributions are restricted. Although one's talents are insufficient to make a significant contribution to society, one can still serve within the neighbourhood.

Commentary on the image: (Water) spraying from the cavity of Jing (the well) (is barely enough to raise) the crucian carp (i.e. small fish) (井谷射鮒), (signifying) none are with it (i.e. no one will use it).

she3 of jing3 (the well) gu3 (the cavity) 射鮒fu4 (the crucian carp) signifies to shoot as well as to spray. The sense of water spraying from the cavity is more likely than shooting fish in the well, as crucian carp are very small.

Enlightenment through nine two: dig deeper; no breakthroughs, no development. The well water is potable but barely enough to raise the small fish. The bucket leaks as well, signifying that it is of limited use; therefore no one will use it. A project has reached preliminary success but still far from the result for production, and it needs recognition. If this line changes to feminine, the hexagram will become Jian3 (39), difficulty (in proceeding), but it will correlate with line 5 (i.e. the water source and a good product, as well as the decision maker). Here line 2 is advised to devote itself to the mission regardless of personal gain or loss.


The 3rd line

Text: Jing (the well) is cleaned (but) (its water is) not (possible to be) drunk, (so the passerby) feels sorry for me, (the problem of) which can be managed by drawing up (water); the king is bright (i.e. clear minded), all will benefit by good fortune.

Text explanation:

The sludge is removed and the well is cleaned; water springs up and is portable but nobody has access to it; therefore people feel sad. The water of the well needs a bucket to draw it up, like an able and virtuous man needing a wise king to employ him; then all people will benefit.

Masculine line 3, water, is in its right place and in correlation with line 6 at the top, which signifies that water is potable and accessible as well. However from a holistic view of hexagram Jing, the water of the upper trigram Kan, lifted up by the wood of the lower trigram Xun, is drunk by the mouth of the inner lower trigram Dui (joy, the marsh) represented by feminine line 4, the courtier. It stays between line 3 and line 5 (the king) and acts as a barrier to those below who intend to ascend to the upper trigram as it rides on masculine line 3, like a courtier oppressing able and virtuous people.




People feel sorry for the water, as the external trigram Kan is also signified as illness of heart. Line 5, the king who occupies line 4, the representative line of the inner upper trigram Li (clinging, fire, brightness), is clear minded. If the king can lift line 3 to position 6, the water will be at the top of the well and people can easily access it and benefit. Additionally, because of this, the king of hexagram Huan (59) is able to unite the people who otherwise would leave.


Commentary on the image: Jing (the well) is cleaned (but) (its water is) not (possible to be) drunk, (so) the passerby feels sorry, (and) asks the king to be bright (i.e. clear minded); (all will) benefit by good fortune.

Enlightenment through nine three: to offer channels to virtuous and talented people, and provide them with necessary support. When this line is triggered to move, it signifies that the well is clean and potable water is available, but there is no bucket to draw it up. The water of the well needs a bucket, and able and virtuous people need a clear minded king to employ them. If the king can take the advice of the passerby, i.e. the third party, all people (i.e. the king, able and virtuous people, and the people) will benefit. In the case of a project, with recognition of its worth and approval it can be put into production. However, if this line changes to feminine and loses access to position 6, the hexagram will become Repeated Kan (29), double water and multiple peril. The project is likely to be undergoing difficulty in getting channel to the end-user. Here one must follow a planned course, and the situation calls for faith (or sincerity and trust) and endurance with an optimistic attitude.


The 4th line

Text: Jing (the well) (is lined with) bricks, (which will cause) no fault (or calamity).

Text explanation:

Water at position 3 can't be accessed because it is obstructed at position 4, i.e. the well is blocked and can't perform properly. Therefore the well must be repaired.

Line 4 is the feminine, the well, in the right place for feminine, signifying the well here is lined with new bricks. Although no direct benefit is provided by line 4 (as it is not water), it sustains line 5, clean and cold water, and acts righteously at its position to ensure proper operation of the well. Therefore there will be no fault or calamity. It is recommended to build an open and unobstructed channel so that all able and virtuous people can be recruited to serve society and the country.

Commentary on the image: Jing (the well) (is lined with) bricks and (there will be) no fault (or calamity), (signifying) to repair the well.

Enlightenment through six four: reconditioning the channel (of the well). When this line is triggered to move, it signifies that the well is repaired and lined with new bricks. Therefore it should be able to function without fault. In the case of a business, this signifies that a sales network is established. However, should this line change to masculine, the hexagram would become Da Guo (28), a bending ridgepole due to excessive masculine rigidity. Da Guo also denotes a coffin, signifying a total failure because of lacking flexibility (in price, sales, etc.).


 The 5th line

Text: Jing (the well) is crystal-clear; the cold spring (is excellent for) drinking.

Text explanation:

The well is full of water from an underground spring, not only clean but also cold; drinking it is very refreshing, like benefiting from the service of an able and virtuous person.

Line 5, the founding and host line of hexagram Jing, is the masculine line of trigram Qian entering into trigram Kun, changing the trigram from Kun to Kan, the source of water.

After the well is reconditioned at position 4, line 5 acts righteously at its right position; this results in clean, cold water from the healthy well. The best well water will be warm in winter and cold in summer. Jing is a hexagram of May, and trigram Kan is water in the cold north; therefore the water of hexagram Jing is cold and refreshing.

Commentary on the image: The cold spring (is excellent for) drinking, (because it is) the axle centre at the right position.

Line 5 is the masculine axle centre at its right position. The well water neither increases nor decreases despite being drawn. This signifies its water is provided inexhaustibly according to the principle of everlasting moderation, like an able and virtuous person acting righteously at his position and performing his job in the spirit of balanced moderation.

Enlightenment through nine five: to perform one's job well and provide service. After having been reconditioned, the well provides people with crystal-clear, refreshing water inexhaustibly. This signifies that a project is successful because it has resulted in a good product. The hexagram that forms after this line is activated is Sheng (46), to rise, where virtuous and able people are promoted, benefiting all.


The 6th line

Text: (The rope of) Jing (the well) has (been) wound up; do not close (the well), (and maintain) sincerity and trust, (which is of) great auspiciousness.

Text explanation:

Line 6 reaches the top of the well; the water of the well has been drawn and the rope wound up. But the well must remain open with a view to continuing its supply of water. This signifies that although the task has been completed, one still needs to sincerely, and with trust, continue one’s mission as before.

The lower trigram Xun is the rope; line 3 correlates with line 6, which reaches the top of the well. The rope has been wound up but the well remains open like line 6 constituted by two broken line strokes, so it sincerely and with trust carries on its mission of supplying water.



Commentary on the image: Great auspiciousness on the top, (which signifies) a great achievement.

Water has been drawn up from the well and the job accomplished but the well still remains open for others to use; therefore it is greatly auspicious.

Enlightenment through six six: continuing to deliver one's service. Water has been drawn up and the well remains open, with sincerity and trust, to continue its mission; this is greatly auspicious. The hexagram that appears while this line is activated is Xun (57), the wind; it blows constantly, one after another, signifying continuance. The project has succeeded at position 5, and its product is selling well. However, continual after-sale service is still required to maintain good reputation.