On one occasion there were some who reported to the Rabbi about the horrendous murder of some men whose blood had been mixed with their sacrifice to HaShem.
He said to them, "Do you suppose that these men were greater sinners than all others because they suffered this fate?"
"I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Shiloach fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Yerushalayim? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
The Rabbi told them this parable: "A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?'
And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'" [In saying this, he was warning them to bear the fruit of repentance.]
This is the teaching of the Rabbi.