translated from the Pali by Maurice O'Connell Walshe
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
[At Saavatthii] At that time the brahman Sangaarava was living there, a "purity-by-water" man who believed in purification by water: his practice was to go down into the water every evening and every morning. Now the Venerable Aananda, rising early, took his robe and bowl and went into Saavatthii for alms. [Returning he went to the Blessed One and said:] "It would be well, Lord, if the Blessed One were to visit the dwelling of Sangaarava the Brahman, out of compassion for him."
The Blessed One silently consented. [Having visited him, the Blessed One said:] "Is it true, brahman, that you are a 'purity-by-water' man... that you go down to the water every evening and morning?"
"Yes, good Gotama."
"What benefit do you expect from [this practice]?"
"It is like this, good Gotama. The evil deeds that I do in the day I cause to be borne away in the evening, and the evil deeds that I do in the night I cause to be borne away in the morning. That is the benefit I expect from [this practice.]"
[The Blessed One said:]
- Dhamma is a lake, virtue's the ford,
Undefiled, which good men praise to others:
Men of wisdom come and bathe therein,
Then, clean of limb, they reach the Other Shore.
1. Tittha "ford" also means "bathing-place." There is an intentional play on both meanings of the word here.