The water well is an excavated deep pit where the groundwater is collected. In times without waterworks and pipelines that conducted water to each and every tap, water wells were the most available source of potable water. In flatland settlements almost each house had a water well, while in mountainous regions people had to go up to several miles to collect water. Before the excavation started, first underground water had to be found, which was sometimes performed with a help of a hazel dowsing stick. A dowserwould hold the stick stopping whenever the stick turned downward – pointing to the underground water. Then a well would be dug on that place. Water well digging experts would do the digging (bunаrdžiје). Above such wells there would be a sweep (a device for bringing water up from a well). The sweep consisted of a wooden pole and a long pole, serving as a lever to bring up water. Another device was a pulley for bringing up a bucket of water, usually constructed with a thatched or tiled roofing and a well fence. Today, instead sweeps and pulleys, pumps are used, and water wells are more often drilled than dug. By driving long pipes or probes quite deep into the ground to reach the underground water, we get artesian wells.
Serbian words for water wells are: bunаr and studеnаc.
RELIGION AND TRADITION
Historically, the dowsing rod is connected with Moses the prophet, who – when leading the people of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land – coming to a dry place, used his staff to hit the rock and water started to flow.