The West has an adage that says, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” The Phrase Thesaurus if you Google for the proverb, indicates that a version, “a sure friend is known when in difficulty” translated from Latin was known by the 3rd BC.
True friends come to help when we are in need, sometimes even without asking.
The ancients also knew about this, if not more, and embedded this adage in the fifth line of Hexagram 39 Jian / Obstruction in the Book of Changes for posterity:
In the midst of the greatest obstructions, Friends come. [W/B]
The pinyin for this line reads and I like it when it jumped at me at Yijing Dao before reading the Chinese characters: Da Jian Peng Lai.
No, the great did not see the mythical Peng Lai Island of the celestial immortals (Xian) as I had initially thought. And the Chinese character for the first name of the island differs from that of a friend (Peng). Therefore the W/B translation is correct.
But that is not what this short discussion is about.
This discussion is something about true or special friends that come to help in the midst of the greatest obstructions.
For deep thinkers and cultivators, does this ninth in the fifth place of Jian have anything to do with Tao?