Some Chinese expressions are very easy to remember just by it’s literal meaning. For example, 远水救不了近火 literally means “water from far away could not put out a close-by fire. ”
You can’t use water from far away to put out fire close-by, can you? No. Therefore this idiom is used to describe the solutions or ways that are far away, no matter how good they are, they can’t help with the urgent situation happening right now.
This expression is widely used in both written and spoken Chinese. As a matter of fact, there are lots of situations that you could use it in. I’ll give you two examples here:
wǒmen xiànzài jíxū yī liàng chēbǎ zhè jiàn wùpǐn sòngzǒu， wǒmen nàxiē yǒu chē de péngyou dōu zhù dé tài yuǎn， yuǎnshuǐjiùbuliǎojìnhuǒ ā!
We desperately need a car to send this item away. Those friends who have vehicles all live far away, xxxx!
” wǒ xiànzài hǎo xiǎng chī jiāxiāng de xiǎochī!”
” wǒmen zhè mǎn jiē dōu shì mài xiǎochī de.”
” kěshì wǒmen gé dé nàme yuǎn， yuǎnshuǐjiùbuliǎojìnhuǒ ā。”
“I miss my home town food so much. “
“We have them sold on the street everywher.”
“But we’re so far away, water from far away could not put out a close-by fire.”