We had no hesitation to do it and it was always a part of our plan but it was a strange experience nonetheless. The last couple of days of our holiday took us to Rotorua in New Zealand, which is one of the most geologically active places in the world. The city and surrounding region is filled with thermal pools, geological parks, boiling mud pits and steam emanating from fissures in the rock and even flowing out of the drains which line several of the streets.
The smell of the sulphur in the air is assailing to the senses and an amazing mist of steam that arises over the city is like a permanent cloud.
But the thing we wanted to do, and our journey required, was that we had planned to take a ‘mud bath’. We were going to join the thousands of people who each year step into a hot pool filled with volcanic, muddy water and sit, completely covering themselves with a dark grey mud with a pungent aroma in the name of ‘good health’ and ‘cleanliness’.
That of course is the incongruent part – we were covering ourselves with sticky mud in order to get cleaner, smoother skin after the event.
The concept is that the volcanic mud is so fine and gently abrasive that it exfoliates and tones your skin with nutrients and minerals. It was so strange to see my wife, who like things clean, to be coating herself from head to toe with this grey mud and then washing it off and doing it again.
How can mud make you clean?
After our time in the mud bath we headed to the shower and it felt great to wash away the grey and see your skin once more…I don’t know for certain but I think I felt cleaner and my skin felt smooth but maybe that was just wishful thinking. One thing I am sure of is that the aroma of the mud clung to me for a couple of days and there was no escaping where I had been and what I had experienced.
This reminded me of something even more significant and powerful… the fact that the Bible tells me that Jesus’ blood has the power to wash away the stains of my sin and shame. It seems incongruent and impossible that blood could wash you clean but I know for a fact that it works. I also know that I am forever changed because of it – perhaps it is the type of wash you need?