The site of a village may be moved,
Not the well.
Neither loses nor gains.
Coming and going, drawing, drawing.
Nearly out of the well,
Break one’s bucket—misfortune.
Commentary on the Decision
Penetrating into the water and bringing the water up.
It indicates a well. The well supplies replenishment.
But is never exhausted.
The site of a village may be moved,
Not the well,
Because the solids are in the central positions
The achievement has not yet been fulfilled.
Break one’s bucket;
There is misfortune.
Commentary on the Symbol
Water over Wood.
An image of Replenishing.
In correspondence with this,
The superior person encourages the people at their work
And urges them to help one another.
The gua shows the wisdom of replenishing the people. In order to replenish people, the head of a household or the leader of a community must first have a source that is inexhaustible. According to the wisdom of the ancient sages, the only way to assure that the supply is inexhaustible is to make the best possible use of the people and resources, and let the commodities flow abundantly into the market. This gua also explores the wisdom of employing virtuous people. Water in a stream is a gift of nature. Water in a well results from the accomplishment of human beings. All the underground streams are there, but without digging the water is wasted. So it is with able and virtuous people. In ancient times, selecting the virtuous and the able was always an important task of a great king.
The host of the gua is unusual—it is the yin element at the topmost place. The yang element at the fifth place is the king—firm and strong, central and correct. Confucius’s Commentary on the Decision says, “The site of a village may be moved, not the well, because solids are in the central positions.” The firm is the king at the fifth place. He is the well, the source of replenishment. Things may change, but his desire to replenish the people never changes. This line has the correct attributes to be the host, but it is not the host.
There is another yang element that is firm and strong, central and correct—the yang element at the second place. This yang element could also act as the host, but it doesn’t. Since this gua is about drawing water from the well, or selecting the virtuous and the able from the multitude, which can only be accomplished by the person at the top. The topmost yin element symbolizes a well without a cover, indicating that the resource of the well is fully used. This line represents the ideal society—a society of great harmony in which the leader and the people work in full cooperation and with unity of purpose.
After the success of King Wen’s southern expedition, the Zhou population increased and the territory expanded. In order to replenish the people’s latent productive capacity, King Wen abolished the old slavery system, setting the slaves free. Likewise, the old personnel system was accordingly changed, and new talent and able officials were recruited. King Wen stated that the system could be changed, but not the principle. The old system could not function well, like an old bucket already broken. If the old system were to remain in place, there would be misfortune. The Duke of Zhou records the problems of the old system. The new social system and the new personnel system functioned better, as if the well have been tiled. The water pure and cold and could be used again. Supreme good fortune ensued.
The bottom line is a yin element at a yang place. it is at the bottom of the well where there is mud and no water. Nobady drinks, not even a bird. The lower gua is Xun, Wood, which represents a cock. Thus the Yao Text takes a bird as the symbol. The well is too old and not well maintained. The situation is bad. If one in this place is not able to live in accord with the time and make adjustments, one will be deserted.